IPTO set to offer connection terms for PV group applications

Power grid operator IPTO is set to start issuing finalized connection term offers to small-scale PV group applicants after recently completing its assessment of applications submitted.

Late last week, the operator announced a list of group applications that fulfilled requirements by December 31, 2020, in preparation, according to energypress sources, for the issuance of a first batch of finalized connection term offers towards the end of June or early July.

This will place small-scale PV group applicants in line for operator connections.

As was noted by IPTO deputy Giannis Margaris two months ago, over 3,000 small-scale PV group applications representing approximately 3 GW were submitted to the operator for appraisal, a procedure that includes inspections for overlapping property issues concerning project sites.

Revisions were introduced to enable small-scale PV investors to submit group applications as a means of sidestepping distribution network saturation issues through direct connections to the transmission network, made possible by the installation of new substations to be funded by investors.

Small-scale PV group applications must represent a total capacity of at least 8 MW in order to be submitted to IPTO, according to the rule revisions.

 

RES investment interest high in June cycle, attracting 17 GW

RES investment interest remained high in a latest cycle for  producer certificate applications offered by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, between June 1 and 10, amassing over 700 applications representing a total capacity of 17.3 GW, energypress sources have informed.

This heightened level of interest has defied the forecasts of certain analysts who expected more subdued figures as a result of lower tariff prices at a recent RES auction.

Solar energy projects represented 12.7 GW of the total, while wind energy applications made up 4.1 GW.

The level of investment interest expressed through this June cycle greatly exceeds figures registered in the preceding cycle, in February, when a total of 477 RES producer certificate applications, representing 8.86 GW, were submitted.

Also taking into account last December’s cycle, when new rules were introduced, the grand total of applications, in all three cycles, exceeds 3,000 for projects representing 71 GW.

At the current rate, a single cycle is attracting more applications than the number submitted over the course of more than a year in the past.

A 20 percent proportion of producer certificate applications submitted in the December cycle was rejected as criteria were not fully met, the most common issue being overlapping properties declared as project sites by investors.

 

Solar, wind, energy storage system costs ‘exceed’ RAE figures

The cost of installing and launching solar and wind energy facilities, as well as storage systems, exceeds levels presumed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, RES agencies and investors have pointed out in public consultation staged by the authority on the cost of new entry for all electricity generation technologies.

RES equipment costs have not only failed to stabilize in recent times, but, on the contrary, struck an upward trajectory, RES officials highlighted.

Some public consultation participants pointed out that RAE’s figures only factor in equipment supply and construction costs without taking into account the connection costs entailed.

SEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, rejected RAE’s capital expenditure estimate for domestic roof-mounted solar panel installations, presumed to be €550,000/MW, noting this figure is extremely low and does not reflect actual market conditions.

The association also noted that RAE’s €400,000/MW CAPEX estimate for commercial PVs is also too low, contending this cost ranges between €500,000-€550,000/MW.

The capital expenditure figure for offshore wind farms is far greater than RAE’s estimate of 3.1 million euros per MW, contended ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

“Given the lack of relevant experience in Greece, depth of the seas, and the still-undeveloped supply chain, the €3.1m/MW estimate is probably very optimistic,” ELETAEN stated.

Municipal solar parks to help low-income household energy needs

Municipalities and prefectures will be offered 100 million euros in subsidies, through the recovery fund, for the development of solar energy farms whose resulting earnings will be used exclusively to cover the energy needs of approximately 30,000 low-income household around the country, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has announced in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini.

These solar parks will offer a total capacity of 120 MW, the minister noted.

The minister also noted, in the interview, that a further 40 million euros from the recovery fund will be used to subsidize the replacement of 2,000 conventional taxis with electric-powered models.

Taxi owners will be entitled to 22,500 euros in subsidies for each vehicle replaced, the minister said, while adding that a variety of criteria, including car age, will be taken into account.

Support is also planned for energy communities, according to the minister.

“Energy communities are important when they serve their purpose and not merely promote capital-intensive investment. That is why we will support energy communities that will benefit those in need,” Skrekas explained.

Responding to a question regarding widespread resistance of local communities against wind energy installations and criticism faced by the ministry for being too cooperative with investor plans in this domain, the minister remarked: “We don’t license everything. Investor proposals currently exceed 100 GW, but we, through the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), estimate that, realistically, approximately 10 GW will be installed – in other words, one in ten.”

Revisions to a revised, and stricter, RES spatial plan will be completed by the end of the year, the minister told.

Ellaktor wind farm development on Evia, with EDPR, 24 months away

Leading infrastructure group Ellaktor’s development plan for wind energy projects with a 436.8-MW capacity on the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens, as a joint venture with Portugal’s EDPR, is undergoing licensing, while construction is not expected to begin for another 24 months, the group’s new chief executive, Efthimios Bouloutas has informed during his first news conference at the company helm.

Ellaktor plans to invest 20.5 million euros, from a 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase, in the development of RES projects for a 500-MW portfolio increase, Bouloutas reiterated, referring to the new administration’s plans.

The equity capital increase is expected to be completed in July following the prospectus’ approval by the Capital Market Commission in late-June, Bouloutas anticipated.

Ellaktor is keen to expand its RES portfolio, currently dominated by wind energy projects, through acquisitions of other wind energy facilities as well as solar parks.

RES-sector involvement has proven pivotal in keeping the group afloat during times of crisis. Ellaktor’s installed capacity currently totals 493 MW, according to the group’s 1Q results.

More than half of Ellaktor’s EBITDA figure posted for the first quarter of 2021 – 28 million euros of 40 million in total – stemmed from RES interests.

Ellaktor projects totaling 88 MW are currently under construction and expected to be completed beyond 2023.

Ministry, DG Comp continuing talks on new RES auctions

The energy ministry and Brussels’ Directorate-General for Competition are continuing negotiations aiming to shape Greece’s new RES auctions from 2021 to 2024, the attention of these talks focused on details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

Ministry officials are hoping the Brussels authority will offer its endorsement of the plan within the summer so that the first session of the new-look RES auctions can be announced in September and staged within 2021.

No changes to the fundamental structure of the Greek plan are expected. The ministry has proposed six mixed RES auctions (wind and solar) by 2024 and 350-MW capacities on offer at each session.

In its effort to ensure a balance in the opportunities for wind and solar projects at these mixed RES auctions, the ministry has proposed that either technology secures no less than 30 percent of the tariff agreements at each session.

Such a term is deemed necessary as protection for wind energy projects, facing far higher equipment costs than solar energy projects, and, as a result, unable to follow PVs along a path of reduced tariff offers. No wind energy projects secured tariffs at the most recent RES auction, last month.

Greece’s proposal for the inclusion of an additional 1 GW capacity into the new RES auction format, as a reserve amount for auctions to concern a series of special RES categories, is one of the aspects being negotiated.

PPC Renewables expecting KAS nod for Ptolemaida solar farm projects

PPC Renewables is anticipating approval, today, by Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) for a large-scale cluster of solar farm projects totaling nearly 1 GW in the Ptolemaida plains of northern Greece, until now mined for their lignite deposits by parent company PPC, the power utility.

KAS has received an application from PPC Renewables for the solar energy projects Pteleonas 1, Pteleonas 2, Kardia 1, Exohi 8 and PPC Ptolemaida Mine A, B, C, D and E.

These projects, promising a total capacity of 960 MW, will be developed over a total land mass measuring 1,830 hectares.

PPC crews and sub-contractors have mined this land for decades, extracting lignite under the surveillance of KAS officials, watchful in the event of any archaeological discoveries.

Given PPC’s preceding mining activities in the region, PPC Renewables’ application for solar farm projects should not encounter any problems with KAS authorities.

Overall, PPC has submitted applications for solar farms in the area totaling 2.5 GW, which, if combined with applications lodged for solar farms in Megalopoli, Peloponnese, total 3 GW.

Claritas Greek solar portfolio up to 591 MW, construction to ‘start by late ’21’

Claritas, a pan-European renewable developer, acquired new RES production licenses during May for Greek solar projects representing 277 MW, significantly boosting its solar energy portfolio for the Greek market to 591 MW.

The company expects to be ready for its development of new solar energy projects, all clustered in northern Greece, by the end of 2021. Claritas plans to install latest-generation modules and inverters for these projects.

The company believes its solar projects will offer a sustainable and commercially viable solution amidst the country’s ongoing energy transition, prompting radical energy-mix changes, according to Dirk Lamottke, chief executive of Claritas Investments.

Commenting on the company’s investment plan for Greece, Nikos Siafakas, Director of Project Development, Greece, noted: “We want to finalize the remaining development steps in the new year and get ready for construction before next winter.”

Claritas, which has been successfully developing a large PV portfolio around Europe, entered the Greek solar market in 2018 and has since worked on the development of major-scale solar energy facilities through its subsidiary Claritas Hellas Energy BV.

HEDNO boosting substation capacities for RES connections

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO is installing new transformers at existing substations in an effort to exhaust the technical potential of existing infrastructure and boost capacity for new RES connections, primarily solar energy, as well as other technologies.

Over the past few weeks, the operator has been installing additional transformers at existing substation units in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region, as a pilot stage,  energypress sources have informed.

This reinforcement approach cannot be implemented at all substation facilities as some are not big enough to host additional transformers, technical staff at the operator explained.

Once the reinforcement effort has been completed in the west Macedonian region, DEDDIE/HEDNO crews will also begin working on networks in other parts of Greece.

 

Details, not structure, holding back RES auction plan talks

Ongoing negotiations between the energy ministry and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition for Greece’s new RES auction system are currently being held back by Brussels concerns over certain details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

The energy ministry is prepared, if needed, to remove aspects causing issues so that negotiations on the new RES auction plan can be completed as swiftly as possible, sources have informed.

The new RES auction plan could be approved within the current summer, according to the more optimistic of forecasts, while the first RES auction under the new framework could be staged towards the end of this year.

At present, local officials are awaiting comments from Brussels following a Greek response to questions prior to Greek Orthodox Easter a couple of weeks ago. Ministry official are hoping Brussels’ comments will be kept to a minimum, which would pave the way for the RES auction plan’s approval.

According to the new RES auction plan, six combined solar and wind energy RES auctions will be staged until 2024, offering a total capacity of 350 MW at every session, for an overall capacity of 2.1 GW.

PPC to offer energy efficiency services following rival moves

The board at power utility PPC, which has lined up a shareholders’ meeting for June 4, will propose company statute revisions including one to facilitate the company’s entry into energy efficiency services, following dynamic moves into this sector by rival suppliers.

The board will propose to shareholders a corporate statute addition concerning the purpose of its operation and activity, covering: “Trade, supply, sale, various related products and equipment, as well as the provision of products and services for the design, implementation, installation, management and financing of energy production, heating, cooling and energy efficiency systems in buildings and facilities “.

According to sources, PPC has already begun planning its move into energy efficiency services, through which consumers will be able to install roof-mounted solar panels at homes combined with net metering. PPC also plans to provide specialized, digital solutions for enterprises and facilities to limit their energy consumption levels.

In other company developments, PPC has decided to maintain two board posts, on its eleven-member board, for worker representatives.

Majority 80% of RES applicants provide certificate payments

A sizeable portion of RES investors, approximately 20 percent, who were entitled to producer certificates after submitting related applications, abandoned their plans by not paying their resulting fees, latest data released by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a December 2020 cycle has shown.

The majority 80 percent of applicants, numbering 1,249, followed through with their producer certificate payments to add a further 27 GW to the accumulation of RES license applications, all at various maturity stages.

A May 11 deadline was set for the December 2020 cycle’s producer certificate payments.

Investors submitted a total of 1,865 applications to the December 2020 cycle, representing a total of approximately 45 GW. Of these, 1,544 applications, representing 34.4 GW, fulfilled all criteria and their investors were invited to pay fees for the issuance of producer certificates.

The remainder of applications that failed to qualify, representing approximately 10 GW, were held back by a variety of problems, primarily property overlapping issues.

RES investors with property overlapping issues will need to resolve matters between them so that producer certificate applications represent one property per application.

In terms of RES technology, 79.6 percent of solar energy project applicants paid their fees for producer certificates in the December 2020 cycle.

The figure was slightly higher for wind energy applications, reaching 81 percent.

Competitive procedure for RES units over 250 MW examined

The energy ministry has begun considering a competitive procedure specified for wind and solar energy parks with capacities of over 250 MW, a move prompted by the European Commission’s clear-cut opposition to individual investor initiatives for RES projects of such scale, sources have informed.

However, it is still too early to tell if the ministry will end up implementing any such plan.

The European Commission, in response to a related enquiry made by the ministry, noted it cannot endorse any reference price formula for individual wind and solar energy project initiatives of such scale, stressing that such plans have not been endorsed by Brussels anywhere in the EU.

A number of investors are believed to have expressed strong interest to the energy ministry for the development, based on individual initiatives, of wind and solar energy parks with capacities exceeding 250 MW.

RES installation permit deadline for producer certificate validity

The energy ministry’s RES licensing committee has proposed an additional deadline, for installation permit applications, as part of a second wave of interventions in the licensing simplification effort for new RES projects.

According to the proposal, if investors miss their installation permit application deadline, then producer certificates obtained for related projects would automatically expire.

Investors would be given a twelve-month period to submit their installation permit applications once connection offers have been accepted for solar energy projects, onshore wind farms and hybrid units, and 18 months for all other RES technologies and combined cooling, heart and power (CCHP) facilities, according to the committee’s proposal.

Producer certificate applications backlog ‘processed by June’

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will have processed all RES project applications for producer certificates by June, its chief executive Thanassis Dagoumas, has informed, describing the authority’s upgraded IT system, enabling swifter processing, as a key step in its digital transformation.

Processing of applications submitted through the February, 2021 cycle will commence once the appraisal of December, 2020 applications has been completed, the objective being to have cleared the entire backlog by this June, when the next cycle is scheduled to commence, Dagoumas noted.

The authority’s IT upgrade has enabled RAE to receive, in a secure and reliable way, 2,341 applications representing a total of 54.36 GW through the two cycles in December 2020 and February, 2021, Dagoumas highlighted.

The authority has managed to process a large percentage of producer certificate applications received through the December, 2020 cycle faster than ever before, the RAE chief informed.

RAE has offered preliminary approval for producer certificate applications representing projects with a total capacity of 34.5 GW, whose investors are expected to soon pay related fees to DAPEEP, the RES market operator, a step prompting automated issuance of producer certificates.

A large number of overlapping RES project plans was detected during processing, which will require RAE to conduct closer examinations of these cases, the RAE chief said.

Dagoumas also pointed out that intensified competition in the RES market is paving the way for a further reduction in tariffs, expected to drop to a level of less than 40 euros per MWh for major-scale solar energy production.

Registrations for a combined (solar and wind energy) RES auction on May 24 have greatly exceeded levels needed for strong bidding competition, as 128 projects representing 1,090 MW will participate, the RAE head informed.

PPC eyeing Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia for RES investments

Power utility PPC is looking to make its next major investment moves in the neighboring countries of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, solar energy and hydropower projects being a priority.

RES activity has soared in these three countries over recent years and is expected to continue.

PPC, which has not taken any investment initiatives abroad in quite a few years, anticipates it will be ready to announce details on major-scale solar farm projects in these countries towards the end of the year.

Bulgarian officials are making plans for 2.64 GW in new RES installations by 2030, of which 2.2 GW will concern solar farms, according to the country’s ten-year climate plan.

In Romania, the country’s 2030 projection is for investments reaching 5.2 GW in wind farm investments and approximately 5 GW in solar farms.

Serbia, possibly offering the biggest green energy investment opportunities among these three countries, will need between 8 and 10 GW in RES investments to replace coal-fired generation with a capacity of 4.4 GW by 2050, deputy energy minister Jovanka Atanackovic recently announced.

A first round of wind and solar project auctions is planned to take place in Serbia by the end of this year.

A month and a half ago, a partnership involving PPC and international contractor Archirodon advanced to the second round of a tender staged in North Macedonia for construction and operation of a major hydropower plant, Cebren, budgeted between 500 and 600 million euros and with a capacity between 333 and 458 MW.

PPC will continue to pursue this Cebren contract but its main focus will be on Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia and their solar energy project opportunities, sources informed.

 

 

PPC Renewables consortium for offshore wind farm projects

PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, plans to establish a consortium for offshore wind farm investments and is preparing, for this year, a tender for RES projects totaling 100 MW, the subsidiary’s chief executive Konstantinos Mavros (photo) has informed two energy conferences, the 11th Annual Sustainability Forum, organized by Capital Link, and the Athens bourse’s 1st Energy Conference, both held yesterday.

The company head’s update comes as further proof of the power utility PPC group’s intensifying effort for a leading role in the green energy sector.

Offshore wind farm projects demand major investment synergies and “we will seek to establish a consortium” for this purpose, the PPC Renewables chief told the first of the two conferences.

Speaking later at the Athens bourse conference, Mavros also informed that PPC Renewables plans to stage a tender for a total of 100 MW in new RES projects. One of these projects will be a large-scale solar farm, he noted without elaborating. According to energypress sources, PPC Renewables will also develop a big wind farm.

The PPC group is also moving ahead with a plan to establish Greece’s first ever power purchase agreement (PPA), as a RES producer, with industrial consumers. PPC and PPC Renewables plan to establish a PPA in July for 50 MW through a solar farm in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

NECP needs revising, EU CO2 emission goal more ambitious

The EU’s level of RES investment objectives has been raised even higher following an agreement reached this week by the member states and European Parliament for a swifter reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, reached after many months of inconclusive negotiations.

The agreement for a CO2 emissions reduction of at least 55 percent by the end of the decade, instead of 40 percent, as had been previously set, will subsequently require EU member states to revise their National Energy and Climate Plans.

NECP objectives concerning wind, solar and all other green-energy technologies will need to be reset.

For Greece, this development means that a 2019 NECP goal for the installation of 8.8 GW in new RES capacity by 2030 needs to be increased to over 10 GW, sources have informed energypress.

The precise figure will be determined by the proportion, or mix, of wind, solar and other RES categories to be included in Greece’s updated NECP, as each technology offers different GWh results per GW installed.

Greece’s NECP committee will soon need to proceed with new calculations and decide on a revised strategy.

The country’s revised NECP will also detail Greece’s updated decarbonization plan, including PPC’s commitment to complete this effort sooner by turning off its Ptolemaida V facility as a lignite-fired unit in 2025, not 2028, as originally planned. PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis pointed out this change of plan to analysts earlier this week.

Peloponnese private RES limits to be lifted, 100 MW available

Current limits not permitting individuals to install new RES units in the Peloponnese, a region long regarded by authorities as saturated, can now be lifted according to power grid operator IPTO and distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Both operators have determined that vacant grid space has become available for new RES units, estimating the free space at approximately 100 MW.

For quite some time, small and big-scale RES investors have expressed tremendous interest to install new RES units, mainly PVs, in the Peloponnese, but have been held back by the limits set for the region.

In response to the latest news from the two operators, the energy ministry appears set to proceed with a legislative amendment that will also offer grid access to individuals, not just energy communities, in the Peloponnese, as is the case at present.

This however will previously require an official proposal by the two operators to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, which, in turn, will need to set new limits concerning RES capacity absorption in the Peloponnese.

Once completed, these actions will have paved the way for the energy ministry to proceed with the required legislative revisions, to also specify the technical profiles of units that will be able to utilize the available grid capacity.

Balancing market entry for RES, demand response by end of ’21

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is planning the balancing market entry of all energy sector players offering flexibility to the grid by the end of this year, a prospect seen as a key factor in lowering balancing market costs.

As a result, RES players, through green aggregators representing them, will participate in the balancing market by the end of 2021, along with the demand response mechanism.

The addition of RES producers promises to intensify competition in the balancing market, which, combined with the demand response mechanism’s participation, will contribute to a further de-escalation of balancing market surcharge costs.

Wind and solar energy farms will have a place in the balancing market. Other RES technologies, such as biogas units, are linked to operating aid contracts with fixed tariffs.

The demand response mechanism’s participation in the balancing market promises to enhance the system’s flexibility, in terms of demand, while the entry of RES producers will make electricity production even more flexible.

Small-scale PVs, RES projects to be given deadline extensions

Investors behind small-scale solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs and RES projects that have secured their tariffs through auctions will be given more time to complete their projects,  with current tariffs intact, as a result of pandemic-related delays for which investors cannot be held accountable.

Investors have faced delays, both in delivery of equipment as well as project construction.

The energy ministry has prepared a related draft bill that will be submitted to parliament for ratification, ministry sources have informed.

Though it remains unclear when this could be, the ministry sources ascertained the bill would be ratified imminently, prior to an April 30 completion deadline for small-scale PVs.

Solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs are expected to be given six-month extensions, while RES projects that have secured tariffs at auction will be given an additional ten months for completion. Completion of projects by the new deadlines will certify the tariffs they currently hold.

A six-month extension for small-scale PVs would give this category until October 30 to begin operating, and, as a result, certify tariffs of 65.74 euros per MWh.

Also, small-scale PVs incorporated into energy communities will certify tariffs of 68.86 euros per MWh if they are completed by the October 30 date.

Motor Oil buys Fortress 240MW RES units, ELPE also a bidder

Petroleum company Motor Oil, a member of the Vardinogiannis group, has acquired a 240-MW wind energy portfolio from private equity fund Fortress for a sum estimated at 123.5 million euros, renewable energy market sources have informed.

The Vardinogiannis group yesterday announced this acquisition, comprised of 220 MW in existing wind energy units and a 20-MW wind energy project now under construction, without naming the seller.

Motor Oil was named the preferred bidder following a two-round tender staged by Fortress that included Canadian fund Cubico in the second round, the sources informed.

The majority of this portfolio’s wind farms are located in central and northern Greece.

Interestingly, fellow Greek petroleum company Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) also participated in the tender but did not make it past the first round, the sources said.

Both Motor Oil and ELPE have set ambitious goals for the addition of RES units to their respective production capacities.

Motor Oil, which had set an objective to build a RES portfolio of more than 300 MW over a two-year period, is already there given its existing installed capacity – prior to this acquisition – which exceeds 100 MW.

Had ELPE added the Fortress wind energy farms to its portfolio, it, too, would have taken a big step towards achieving its RES objective, set at 500-MW. The group is currently developing a 200-MW solar farm in the west Macedonia area, northern Greece.

Fortress, represented in Greece by local associate Nostira, had bought the aforementioned portfolio in September, 2018 from the Libra group, headed by shipowner George Logothetis.

 

May RES auction applications total 128 for 1,092 MW, PVs dominant

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has confirmed previous reports of a strong turnout for its forthcoming RES auction in May, the number of applications reaching 128 for projects representing a total capacity of 1,092 MW, dominated by solar energy projects.

A minimum participation level set by RAE to ensure a competitive session was greatly exceeded.

The session, to offer tariffs for mature RES projects totaling a maximum of 350 MW, will help steer these plans towards swift development and also drive prices down as a result of bidding competition, to the benefit of consumers and the national economy, RAE noted in an announcement.

Approximately 70 percent of the RES auction applications submitted concern solar energy projects, the other 30 or so percent concerning wind energy projects.

The absence of quotas for the two RES technologies acted as a disincentive for wind energy investors, as bidding against solar energy investors will be difficult given the sharp drop in prices for PV equipment.

The overwhelming majority of wind energy applications, representing a total capacity of about 300 MW, concerns projects that failed to secure tariffs at the previous RES auction.

Solar energy applications, for major-scale projects between 10 and 20 MW, represent a much higher capacity total of approximately 700 MW.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections. The auction is scheduled to take place May 24.

Work on PPC Renewables 200-MW solar park starting April

Development of a major-scale 200-MW solar farm planned by PPC Renewables in Ptolemaida, northern Greece, a project budgeted at 110 million euros, is expected to begin in approximately one month.

A series of pre-construction procedures are expected to be completed within the next four weeks, enabling the Mytilineos Group’s METKA EGN, the project’s contractor, to begin work on this project. It represents the biggest part of a 230-MW solar energy project cluster planned by PPC Renewables.

A first 15-MW cluster has already been completed, while a second section representing an equivalent capacity is now being developed and should be ready by autumn.

Work on another big solar farm project planned by PPC for Megalopoli in the Peloponnese, to offer a capacity of 50 MW, is expected to begin in June.

On another front, PPC Renewables is currently working on establishing a major joint venture with Germany’s RWE by July or August.

PPC Renewables and RWE are currently working through a series of matters, including a number of legal issues. RWE will hold a 51 percent stake in this venture.

The two partners plan to equally contribute solar energy projects for a total capacity of 2 GW and a total value of approximately one billion euros, once developed, to this joint venture.

Talks on which projects each partner will choose to contribute to this joint venture remain at an early stage.

PPC Renewables is expected to contribute PV licenses concerning the west Macedonia and Megalopoli areas, while RWE is seen contributing project licenses or anticipated Greek project acquisitions being eyed by the German company for quite some time.

 

PV units dominate applications for RES auction in May

Solar energy projects dominated the number of applications submitted by RES investors for participation in an upcoming May 24 auction to offer tariff prices for PV and wind energy facilities, sources have informed.

Wind farm project applications appear to have been greatly outnumbered. Also, the level of applications concerning wind farm projects that failed to ensure tariffs at a preceding auction was particularly low. This category of projects was automatically entitled to participate in the May auction, to be staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The application deadline for the May auction expired yesterday. An official announcement has yet to be released as a result of pending contractual issues between RAE and CosmoOne, the provider of digital platforms used for these auctions.

The May auction, the final session to be held under current rules, concerns solar energy projects up to 20 MW and wind farms up to 50 MW. Tariffs for a maximum capacity of 350 MW will be offered.

In accordance with rules designed to help make these auctions competitive, participants will need to represent a total of 700 MW if this 350-MW capacity is to be offered in its entirety.

According to sources, wind farm applicants appear to represent a total capacity of approximately 300 MW, while the total capacity sum for PV projects is expected to be far higher.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections.

 

Mytilineos extending global partnership with Huawei

Following the successful cooperation with the Renewables and Storage Development (RSD) Business Unit of MYTILINEOS (METKA EGN) in Greece, Huawei extends its business partnership with MYTILINEOS globally, signing a memorandum of cooperation regarding the supply of innovative and reliable Huawei string inverters, for PV plants including but not limited to the UK, Uzbekistan, Spain and Cyprus.

Huawei inverters, harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in digital information technology, rethink PV with regards to power generation, O&M, grid connection, and safety. Their robustness and reliability is based on Huawei’s mature string technology, coupled with built-in digital technologies, increased dynamic MPPT efficiency, as well as TUV verified >99.996% inverter availability. Therefore, making Huawei’s solution the best choice in terms of technological superiority and high efficiency at a low maintenance and service cost with a minimum failure rate.

Huawei’s innovative features such as MBUS communication running on AC-line and Smart IV Curve Diagnosis, have completely enhanced traditional manual inspection mode. By integrating advanced digital technologies, Huawei inverters can proactively identify the electrical features of the PV plant and automatically adjust grid connection algorithm to match the power grid, therefore proving Huawei to be the best fit for large-scale projects, meeting even the most demanding of grid connection requirements.

As Nikos Papapetrou, General Manager of the RSD Business Unit of MYTILINEOS stated: “We have decided to strengthen our cooperation further with Huawei in a large part of our portfolio globally, greatly based on the reliability of the inverters that ensure our plants’ performance even in harsh environments, as well as on their integrated advanced attributes that facilitate installation and reduce our operating cost.” Mr. Papapetrou added: “Huawei’s leading position worldwide, its comprehensive service offering as well as its customer-centric approach have convinced us that we made the secure choice”. 

As Jacky Chen, Managing Director Huawei Technologies South Balkan Region stated: “We are extremely delighted that MYTILINEOS, one of the most successful solar development and EPC companies globally, trusts us with the opportunity to be actively part of the largest PV plant portfolios worldwide. We are committed to providing increased performance, with smart devices that maximize efficiency and minimize operating costs, therefore ensuring a world-class photovoltaic installation and a long-term investment”.   

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – the company is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei’s end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, the company creates lasting value for its customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes. At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. The company invests heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. The company has more than 194,000 employees, and operates in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company wholly owned by its employees. For more information, visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com.

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Ellaktor adding €20.5m to RES portfolio for wind farms, PV units

Leading infrastructure group Ellaktor plans to inject a further 20.5 million euros to its renewable energy portfolio through an anticipated 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase.

Ellaktor’s new administration is placing emphasis on the group’s financial rebound in the RES sector, chief executive Aris Xenofos (photo) told analysts during a virtual-conference presentation.

The 20.5 million-euro sum planned to be injected into the group’s RES portfolio will be used to accelerate a growth plan through wind farm acquisitions and investments in solar energy.

At present, Ellaktor possesses just one small solar farm in operation, a 2-MW facility in the central Peloponnese’s Arcadia region.

Ellaktor is Greece’s second biggest RES energy producer with a total installed capacity of 491 MW offered by 24 wind energy farms, a small-scale hydropower unit, and the aforementioned Arcadia PV facility.

The company, aiming to increase its total installed capacity to 579 MW by 2022, is currently developing a new 88.2-MW wind energy facility.

Ellaktor, according to the administration’s presentation to analysts, is also moving ahead with a one billion-euro agreement reached with Portugal’s EDPR for joint development of wind farms totaling 900 MW.

The Ellaktor group’s RES portfolio revenue rose to represent 9 percent of total turnover in the nine-month period of 2020, from 3 percent in 2018.

The listed group’s planned 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase will need to be approved at a general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for April 2. Responding to questions by analysts, Xenofos, the chief executive, noted he is confident shareholders will support the plan.

The group intends to use 100 million euros of the 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase to cover liquidity needs at its Aktor subsidiary, including 45 million euros for the company’s loss-incurring PV activity in Australia and 55 million euros to cover supplier costs.

 

 

New network expansion model to support PV investments

A new formula just introduced by the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for the expansion of medium-voltage transmission lines promises to restart the development of small-to-medium scale solar energy projects by providing a viable way for investors to cover the cost of network projects.

This new approach comes as an effort to end investment stagnancy in the RES sector by enabling RES producers to overcome local network saturation issues that have prevented the development of their project plans.

The new formula entails the issuance of connection terms for clusters of independent PV units, for which the operator will temporarily cover the cost of network expansion projects concerning units that will not pay immediately.

The plan was introduced by the operator last Friday, beginning with the issuance of connection terms for a first batch of three PV clusters.

It comes at a time when, according to data processed by SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, the percentage of RES applications rejected by DEDDIE/HEDNO has reached a level of 80 percent.

This heightened level of rejections has, more recently, prompted the intervention of sector agencies, highlighting the fact that investor interest in RES investments, especially small-and-medium sized photovoltaics, has come to a standstill.

 

National Energy completes acquisition of wind, solar portfolio

National Energy (NE) has completed the acquisition of C. 70MW of operational wind and solar assets in Greece from IBG Hellenic Fund III (HFIII), a private equity fund managed by Hellenic Capital Partners (HCP) for an undisclosed sum.

NE was launched two years ago to develop, construct, own and operate renewable power plants across Europe, starting from Greece.

It is understood that NE is actively looking for more opportunities to acquire operational wind and solar assets and currently has 161MW of additional solar PV assets under construction out of a portfolio of 270MW that has successfully participated in the auctions, and a development pipeline in the hundreds of MW.

George Lagios, Greek Country Manager of NE was pleased with the support NE received from HCP throughout the process. He pointed out that: “the acquisition comes with the added benefit of NE taking on an experienced development and engineering team which will further strengthen our firm’s positioning to operate as a full scale IPP, namely across the full value chain with capabilities from development, financing and construction to operations and asset management. This transaction is also testament of NE’s capability to pre-empt competitive processes and transact bilaterally in a transparent and reliable way”.

With the completion of this transaction with NE, HFIII has successfully divested the operating assets of its renewable energy portfolio. Having now liquidated most of its holdings, HFIII is heading for full divestment, being the 4th consecutive fund under HCP’s management to achieve significant returns for its investors.

Spiros Papadatos, CEO of HCP stated: “We would like to thank NE for their hard work and commitment towards closing this transaction. We also take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our investors, both institutional and private, for their cooperation and trust throughout our partnership. HFIII was the first Greek Private Equity Fund focusing purely on investments in the domestic renewable energy sector, capturing early its prospects. Today, there is a very strong demand for renewable assets, both by domestic and international investors, far exceeding the goals for renewable energy penetration set at national level”.

Akereos Capital acted as exclusive M&A and debt advisor to NE in the transaction while the debt package was provided by Piraeus Bank who were advised by Labadarios Law. KLC Law and Squire Patton Boggs advised NE while Seissoglou & Nikolaidis advised HCP. TUV Hellas were selected as technical advisors, Marsh & Co as insurance advisors and E&Y acted as financial and tax advisor to NE.