Licensing delays, bureaucracy ruining RES investment plans

Renewable energy sector players may have been able to absorb the cost of bureaucratic delays in the past, but market changes, shaped by auctions, no longer allow for such latency, meaning investments plans could well be cancelled amid the new conditions if license applications continue being delayed, sector officials have stressed at an investment conference staged by SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists.

Highlighting the bureaucratic obstacles in the sector, major energy groups such as Mytilineos and Terna Energy are currently developing or completing wind energy project investments licensed about 15 years ago as a result of various delays prompted by authorities.

“Two months have gone by since we submitted an application for a production license to RAE [Regulatory Authority for Energy] and we have yet to receive a response. I would have expected a quicker reaction for a 350 million-euro investment,” remarked Dinos Benroubi, the energy division head at the Mytilineos corporate group.

Greek licensing procedures for wind energy projects appear to be even more complicated than those concerning thermal facilities, or natural gas fueled power stations, it was noted at the SEV conference.

Participants explained that, amid the current conditions, energy groups aiming to concurrently strive for multiple licenses concerning many RES projects would need to maintain oversized teams just for RES sector matters.

Employees at forestry and archaeological services are capable of severely holding up RES investment plans, despite the availability of funds, conference participants noted.

Though the Greek State assumed the responsibility of developing offshore wind energy farms nearly a decade ago, not a single such project has been developed, despite the wider investor interest, participants reminded.

All too often, renewable energy investment plans are blocked by cases filed at the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, even by non residents, it was also pointed out.

 

SEV energy top officials call for fairer industry conditions

The uneven implementation of a measure compensating carbon emission right costs, delays in adjusting to EU directives, and the weight of a supplier surcharge are seriously threatening the level of competitiveness of Greece’s energy-intensive industrial enterprises, the energy committee heads at SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists, have stressed.

Distortions affecting the carbon emission right offsetting measure are burdening the industrial sector with additional energy costs of more than 50 million euros, the SEV energy committee leaders, Evangelos Mytilineos, CEO at the Mytilineous corporate group, and Titan cement’s chief Dimitris Papalexopoulos, stressed in a joint letter.

It was forwarded to energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, deputy prime minister Yiannis Dragasakis and Mihalis Filippou, the head of LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator.

Carbon emission right compensation amounts for the industrial sector are based on average emission right price costs of the previous year, whereas the main power utility PPC is applying emission right price levels of the previous month. This has led to a huge discrepancy in compensation amounts offered as, in 2017, the average emission price cost was 5.7 euros per ton while the price level in late February ranged between 13 and 14 euros per ton.

The heads of SEV’s energy committee called for the energy ministry and LAGIE to fully resort to existing laws, at national and EU levels, to resolve the matter.

The RES-supporting supplier surcharge is causing serious problems for the industrial sector, the SEV energy committee leaders also noted in their letter. The surcharge has hindered competition in the retail electricity market and also represents another setback affecting the industrial sector’s level of competititiveness, the officials noted.

 

PPC pledges best deals possible in talks with industrial consumers

PPC, the main power utility, has released a statement underlining current negotiations being conducted by the utiility separately with the country’s major industrial enterprises for revised tariff agreements will be pursued to the fullest for the fairest possible agreements.

The announcement also noted PPC’s main objective is to establish constructive cooperation with all its consumer categories, including industrial firms.

The utility’s administration recognizes the crucial role being played by high-voltage industrial firms in the country’s effort to overcome the deep recession, as well as their key role in providing employment, the statement noted.

PPC is scheduled to hold a shareholders meeting on Monday. Prior to today’s PPC announcement, the utility’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis received a letter from Theodoros Fessas, president of SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists, in which PPC was strongly advised not to take unilateral action on new industrial tariffs at Monday’s meeting. Besides being prohibited by market regulations, such an initiative would undermine current negotiations between PPC and industrial consumers, the SEV chief noted.

Industry chief offers sector’s views ahead of PPC meeting

Theodoros Fessas, president of SEV, the Hellenic Association of Industrialists, has forwarded a letter to main power utility PPC chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis outlining the industrial sector’s views on expected electricity tariff revisions for the sector as well as other requests intended to compensate for the abolishment of a 20 percent discount for industry, a bailout demand.

The SEV chief’s letter, offering a framework for the industrial sector’s ties with PPC, was forwarded ahead of this coming Monday’s shareholders meeting at the utility.

In the letter, Fessas notes unilateral actions determining industrial tariffs without prior completion of negotiations are prohibited by market regulations. Any approval of new industrial tariffs at next Monday’s PPC shareholders meeting will be regarded as a form of unilateral action and would undermine current negotiations between PPC and the country’s major-scale industries, the SEV chief stressed. These negotiations are being conducted separately based on consumer profiles. Unilateral action would also raise competition issues, considering PPC’s market dominance, Fessas noted.

The SEV chief underlined that unilateral action errors on industrial pricing policy committed at a previous PPC shareholders meeting in February, 2014 must not be repeated. Industrial authorities fear unilateral action could again prompt European Commission intervention, as was the case with the 20 percent industrial tariff discount, a PPC shareholders initiative now being abolished.

The SEV letter also notes that PPC’s reduced operational costs, resulting from lower oil and natural gas prices, down considerably compared to two years ago, as well as the abolishment of regulatory charges in 2015, provide a basis for cost-reflective tariff negotiations with industry.

Fessas also pointed out that, until now, all verdicts concerning Greek industrial tariff disputes between the sector and PPC have vindicated industrialists, both at domestic and European Commission levels. The SEV chief noted it would be constructive for PPC and the industrial sector to eventually establish cooperative relations.