Supreme Court avoids ruling on new-deal RES tariff reduction

The Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, has decided, following a three-year procedure, it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case filed by RES investors in reaction to a significant reduction of their contracted tariffs for solar energy production at existing units, prompted by a so-called new deal in March, 2014, energypress sources have informed.

The court’s decision has not yet been officially announced.

By taking a step back on the tariff-reduction matter, the court will also avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the new deal and its compatibility with European law.

Though the court decision does not vindicate the RES investors, it leaves open the possibility of compensation claims against the State, an option that will be exercised by at least some of the investors who offered comments to energypress.

 

PV investor tariffs depend on legislative agenda order

The ability of PV investors to secure tariffs by November 26, when reference prices are due to change, will depend on whether related legislation can previously be submitted to Parliament and ratified.

The energy ministry has completed revisions enabling RES project investors to secure tariffs once their projects have been declared as ready for electrification, not based on their specified electrification dates, as is the case at present.

However, these revisions still need to be ratified in Parliament to come into effect. They are expected to be attached to a draft bill concerning spatial regulations for RES projects, whose consultation period expires tomorrow after having been granted an extension.

Tariff opportunities for projects that have been declared as ready for electrification will be missed if the draft bill is not legislated by the November date.

The energy ministry revisions cannot be attached to draft bills prepared by other ministries, meaning the ability of PV investors to secure tariffs before reference prices change will depend on the order of the government’s legislative agenda.

 

Solar, wind project tariffs at time of project readiness

The energy ministry is preparing a legislative revision to secure tariff levels for solar and wind energy projects at the time of their certified readiness – by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO – not electrification, as is the case at present.

Energy ministry officials are convinced of this revision’s necessity as, in many cases, RES investors have completed the development of their projects but DEDDIE/HEDNO, for various reasons, cannot promptly offer grid connections for these projects, meaning tariff-related opportunities can be missed.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has expressed its support for the energy ministry’s planned revision. As part of the new procedure, the operator will conduct on-site inspections to confirm whether projects are ready for electrification before providing related certificates.

The overall revisions are expected to take two months to complete and be ready for implementation ahead of reference price changes scheduled for November 26. The energy ministry is expected to submit a legislative revision to Parliament within September.

Tariff clarity for private PVs, energy communities up to 1MW

Tariff levels at which photovoltaic energy producers not participating in auctions sell output will, as of May 1 next year, be fixed and not adjusted in accordance with average prices of preceding auctions, as has been the case until now, as a result of a number of legislative acts and related ministerial decisions.

This new system concerns private owners of photovoltaics with capacities up to 500 KW and photovoltaic energy communities with total capacities up to 1 MW.

However, until May 1, 2021, numerous photovoltaic projects will have secured tariffs determined by the results of a recent RES auction on July 27.

Tariff prices until November 26, 2020 will be 70.3 euros per MWh for private owners of photovoltaics up to 500 KW and 73.64 euros per MWh for energy communities up to 1 MW.

Between November 27 and a four-month period following a RES auction announced by the energy ministry for December – in other words, until April, 2021 – private owners of photovoltaics up to 500 KW will be able to sell output for 65.73 euros per MWh and energy communities up to 1 MW for 68.86 euros per MWh.

Further ahead, between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022, private owners of photovoltaics up to 500 KW will be able to sell output for 63 euros per MWh and energy communities up to 1 MW for 65 euros per MWh

Barring unexpected changes, tariff levels have been set all the way to  April 30, 2022, offering investors clarity for their business plans.

RES project completion, without connection, to suffice for tariffs

The energy ministry is working to revise a rule that determines when development of RES projects is considered complete, which enables them to secure their tariff prices for output, either through competitive procedures or not.

Under the current rules, RES projects are considered ready once they have been connected to networks, not when their development has been completed.

This has proven to be a major problem for investors behind wind and solar energy projects completed on time but unable to secure tariff prices as a result of the inability of power grid IPTO or distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO to offer connections when needed.

The matter is being worked on, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during a virtual conference staged by the Hellenic-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Final decisions have not been reached but the plan is to have authorities inspect and certify the completion of RES projects regardless of whether they have been connected, in order to secure tariff levels available at the time, sources informed.

The energy ministry is also striving to further simplify RES licensing procedures by merging or even eliminating certain steps or permits currently required, according to Sdoukou.

 

 

Reference prices for auction-free RES categories lowered

The energy ministry is set to sign a decision adjusting downwards reference prices for renewable energy stations not obliged to participate in competitive procedures.

This category includes small-scale hydropower stations, biomass, biogas and geothermal stations, wind energy facilities under 3 MW (6 MW for energy communities), as well as yet-to-be-launched wind energy facilities over 3 MW for which agreements were signed in 2016.

The new reference prices will apply for projects scheduled for launch and actual price settings following January 1, 2022.

Existing reference prices are based on legislation passed in 2016 and have not been adjusted since, except for wind energy facilities, which were subject to a price reduction following a related decision last year.

The forthcoming ministerial decision will seek to rationalize RES prices compensating the aforementioned RES categories, which, as a result of unique factors, are not required to participate in competitive procedures, as is the case for bigger wind energy projects as well as solar energy projects.