Country’s solar energy capacity on course to overtake wind energy

Solar energy units are on course to overtake wind energy as the country’s biggest RES sub-sector, given the growing number of installations of the former and a slowdown of the latter during the first half, latest data provided by DAPEEP, the RES market operator, has shown.

At the current rate, the total capacity of solar energy facilities could, for the first time ever, exceed that of wind energy units in the second half of this year.

At present, the country’s wind energy capacity totals 4,294 MW, solar energy capacity is at 4,173 MW, and roof-mounted photovoltaics are at 371 MW. They are followed by small-scale hydropower units (246 MW), biogas-biomass (99 MW) and cogeneration-combined hear and power (118 MW).

The country’s installed RES capacity increased by 207.4 MW in May, solar energy units being the biggest contributor (153.2 MW), followed by wind energy (51.8 MW), small-scale hydropower units (1.7 MW) and biomass (0.7 MW), the DAPEEP figures showed.

The RES market operator expects renewable energy installations in 2022 to reach 1,900 MW, led by solar energy units (950 MW), and followed by wind energy (910 MW), biomass (15 MW), cogeneration-combined hear and power (15 MW), and small-scale hydropower (10 MW).

Greece’s total installed RES capacity reached 9,300 MW in May, up from 8,500 MW at the beginning of the year, the DAPEEP data showed.

 

PPC Renewables tender for big 550-MW solar farm imminent

PPC Renewables plans to announce a tender by next week, at the very latest, for the development of one of Europe’s biggest solar energy farms, a 550-MW facility in northern Greece’s Ptolemaida area, where sections of lignite mines owned by parent company PPC, the power utility, will be used for the renewable energy project.

The tender will concern the project’s construction. PPC Renewables will install the solar panels itself.

The Ptolemaida solar farm will not participate in RES auctions for tariffs as PPC Renewables intends to establish Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with buyers for direct purchases of the solar energy farm’s output.

PPC Renewables aims to have a construction company working on the project’s development by the end of this year for completion of the investment by 2024. The project’s budget is worth approximately 280 million euros.

Europe’s biggest solar energy farm at present, still under construction, is a 626-MW project in central Spain. It is being developed by Solaria Energia. Also in Spain, Iberdrola is developing a 590-MW solar energy farm.

Greece’s biggest solar farm, already operating, is a 204-MW facility owned by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) in Kozani, northern Greece.

 

DEPA Commercial makes another RES market acquisition

Gas company DEPA Commercial has further penetrated the RES market by fully acquiring NEW SPES CONCEPT, possessing solar farms with a total capacity of 232 MW, and is preparing to buy a further 51 percent stake, for full ownership, of North Solar, whose business plan features 500-MW of solar farms in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region.

DEPA Commercial aims to build a RES portfolio with a 1-GW capacity.

NEW SPES CONCEPT is currently developing 14 solar energy projects and holds as many electricity producer certificates.

DEPA Commercial made a first step into the renewable energy market last year with the purchase of a 49 percent stake in North Solar and is now expected to exercise an option for the other 51 percent of the company.

North Solar’s 500-MW solar farms in the country’s west Macedonia region are expected to receive finalized connection terms in the third quarter of this year, sources informed.

Besides its stakes in NEW SPES CONCEPT and North Solar, DEPA Commercial also holds a 20-percent stake in Gastrade, a consortium established for the Alexandroupili FSRU project in the country’s northeast.

Next RES auction in early September, for 1,000 MW

The next RES auction, to feature a new remuneration framework for investors, is set to be held early September, following the signing of a related ministerial decision, which paves the way for the session’s official announcement by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The authority will officially announce the auction imminently, giving participants time to prepare for the session from early July onwards, according to energypress sources.

The signing of the ministerial decision, one of two signed, enabling the procedure to go ahead, was announced yesterday by the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou during a speech at a conference, Green Deal Greece 2022.

Sdoukou reiterated that the RES auction will be a mixed session for solar and wind energy facilities and will offer tariffs for projects with a total capacity of 1,000 MW.

Bidders will be able to submit multiple bids, the formula also used for the previous auction, the energy ministry official noted.

PPC seeking big-name offshore wind farm partnerships

Power utility PPC is seeking to establish a strategic partnership with a major international partner or partners for co-development of offshore wind farms in Greek territory as a follow-up to its partial acquisition of energy firm Volterra’s renewable energy portfolio, namely 112 MW in wind and solar energy projects, both already operating and under construction.

PPC is looking at offshore wind farm collaborations with the likes of Norway’s Aker, France’s Total and EDF, as well as Germany’s RWE. The Greek power utility has already held discussions with some of these companies, according to sources. Partnerships could be established with one company or even two, offering 33.3 percent shares to each.

According to the sources, PPC aims to have reached an agreement for offshore wind farm collaborations within the summer, concurrent to the energy ministry’s establishment of a legal framework for an offshore wind farm sector in Greek sea territory.

The ministry’s framework for the sector is nearing completion and could be forwarded for consultation as soon as mid-June.

This explains why PPC is currently giving preference to offshore wind farm projects in Greece over wind and PV project acquisitions in the Balkans, which the company has kept a close watch on for investment opportunities since the end of 2021.

Record-Breaking Ultra Large PV Plant With Unity Controls

Inaccess has been awarded the PPC contract, one of the largest single solar PV plants in the world, a 2GW photovoltaic project in the EMEA region.

The Unity Power Plant Controller (PPC) was selected for the grid integration and overall control of this record-breaking project currently under construction. Consisting of approximately 4 million bifacial solar panels and more than 80,000 trackers, this flagship PV plant will generate enough electricity for around 160,000 homes and mitigate 2.4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Inaccess will deploy Unity PPC in a master-slave configuration that controls approximately 8,000 string inverters and a series of capacitor banks. The active and reactive power control functionality will be complemented by our state-of-the-art automatic voltage regulation, which is essential for the smooth integration of this landmark project into the grid. In addition, Unity’s built-in redundancy will provide the necessary reliability and availability, guaranteeing the continuous and correct operation of the site control.

Learn more about Inaccess here.

 

DNV ‘contributing’ to floating PV company ‘bankability’

By Michalis Mastorakis

An important step to enhance the maturity of the floating photovoltaic industry in Europe is being advanced by the independent energy expert and assurance provider, DNV.

This is starting with the implementation of two Joint industry Projects (JIP’s) which aim to create standards and guidelines for anchorage and mooring design as well as testing and certification of floats.

DNV intends to formulate a “roadmap” for potential investors and operators of floating photovoltaics, developing for the first time in the world, a specific certification and verification framework in terms of design, development and operation of floating photovoltaics.

The Norwegian classification society already collaborated with 24 sector companies as part of a previous JIP effort, that led to the publication of DNV-RP-0584. DNV has also invited others to participate in the two new JIPs, Michele Tagliapietra, solar energy advisor and DNV’s Global Practice Lead for Floating Solar, has told energypress.

As Tagliapietra explained speaking to energypress, there is a significant gap and this affects the “bankability” of investors, resulting in significant obstacles to the maturation and implementation of projects in the industry and even at a time, as he characteristically stated, that the technology of floating photovoltaics is booming and has significant investment interest in major markets on the European continent.

DNV’s first new Joint Industry Project for this sector aims to share and verify optimal practices concerning floating photovoltaic anchoring and mooring design. Taking into account the sector’s experience, so far, and existing concepts, this effort, involving participants from across the entire floating photovoltaics domain, will produce a design standard tackling a range of challenges that are expected to arise during design and installation.

The second new Joint Industry Project, concerning float design, testing and qualification – it is based on DNV’s knowhow and network – will aim to establish an adequate standard for design, testing and certification of floating PVs. This step promises to introduce clearer, swifter and lower-cost procedures.

Specific technology for specific conditions

Evaluating the Group’s overall experience in the floating photovoltaic industry, the senior DNV executive stated that the “key” to the successful development of the projects is the combination of “appropriate technology in the right place”, emphasizing that the project design must take into account the geographical, weather and technical conditions of each place selected for a project.

Determining the level of “maturity” of this technology, he said that for the time being it remains immature for application on the high seas, without however being ruled out in the near future, given that this technology is experiencing rapid development. Today such projects are mainly found in lakes and water basins within the mainland.

The case for Greece

Of particular interest is the case for Greece, where DNV has a long experience in the industry. According to Mr. Tagliapietra, Greece has a comparative advantage with the sea areas near the coastline that are considered particularly favourable to host such projects. “The Greek coastal region may be an optimal choice solution for the installation of floating photovoltaics,” he said.

The European trend

While the Netherlands is at the forefront for installed capacity in Europe, countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Germany are currently starting to implement floating solar specific regulations and initiatives to promote the sector.

Overall, European countries are becoming more favorable to the development of floating photovoltaics, a stance that puts this technology in good stead as a sustainable solution for energy sufficiency and supply within the framework of the European Commission’s new REPowerEU plan.

DNV forecasts

The geographical potential for floating photovoltaics installation is estimated at 4 TW by the World Bank. Following a hesitant start, the global floating PV market grew to 3 GW in installed capacity in 2021 and, according to DNV, should reach between 7 and 11 GW in installed capacity by 2025, a surge in development expected from 2023 onwards.

 

Solar energy investors focusing on large-scale projects

Increased emphasis is nowadays being placed on large-scale solar energy parks around Europe, as well as energy storage, through hybrid projects combining photovoltaics with batteries, participants at Intersolar Europe 2022, a major international conference and trade fair, held annually in Munich, have agreed.

The solar energy sector has enormous potential, especially in Europe, as a result of the EU’s decision to greatly reduce its reliance on Russian energy sources, participants noted, without overlooking concerns troubling the market, regarded as unstable by many.

Highlighting the growing level of interest in the solar energy sector, Intersolar Energy 2022 involved the participation of 1,356 exhibitors from 46 countries, attracting 65,000 visitors from 149 countries, a 33 percent increase compared to 2019.

A host of Greek companies took part, these being: Sunlight Group Energy Storage Systems, Elvan S.A., ILVIEF SA, Inaccess ltd, Nanotechnology Lab LTFN, Organic Electronic Technologies PC (O.E.T.), Profilodomi, Protasis SA, Raycap GmbH, Recom Technologies, S.K.EVANGELOPOULOS AND CO, SOLBOTIX S.A.

Local representatives of major international players also participated, representing companies such as Huawei, Jinko, Goodwe, Krannich-Solar, Kostal and Raycap, all active in the Greek market.

 

Shell, Inaccess to deploy Unity platform in hybrid PV+Wind 100MW Dutch project

As renewable energy penetration increases, many grid operators and consequently developers are facing challenges due to reduced grid capacity. The Netherlands is one of the countries dealing with such challenges stemming from the fast growth of its renewable energy sector during the last couple of years.

One of the solutions to circumvent grid congestion is to co-locate Solar and Wind plants. These types of generation assets complement each other very well since there is an abundance of solar energy during the day and in the summer months while there is plenty of wind during the winter months.

This complementary nature of solar and wind can stabilize the intermittent nature of the energy production and maximize grid connection utilization, leading to significant benefits in terms of dispatchability, flexibility, and reliability.

Shell, as part of its global push in the renewable energy space, developed a hybrid asset in the Netherlands. The power plant consists of a 50MW photovoltaic power plant and a 50MW wind farm.

In order to control and monitor this complex project, Shell worked with Inaccess, a global leader in control and monitoring solutions for renewable energy projects. Building on their successful cooperation for utility-scale projects in Australia and the EMEA region, Shell and Inaccess will continue collaborating on a project pipeline in various countries.

The Unity system of Inaccess optimizes the operation of modern renewable power plants and portfolios encompassing PV, Batteries, Wind and Microgrids by offering:

  • Fine-tuned control: low-level distributed control architecture and grid interaction
  • Crystallizing and Centralizing by providing accurate data acquisition and scalability
  • Maximizing energy production by identifying and evaluating cases of underperformance
  • Optimizing market revenues by minimizing imbalance costs and maximizing Energy Capture Price

The integrated nature of the Unity system ensures “no-excuses” accurate monitoring, control and optimization and acts as the single version of truth among the EPC, O&M, Asset Management, and Market Management ecosystem, thus eliminating inefficiencies.

Co-locating wind farms with solar assets provides more grid-friendly power that is necessary in today’s congested grids. This pairing has the potential to disrupt and transform many renewable energy markets globally that are facing similar challenges.

About Shell

Shell companies have operations in more than 70 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects. For further information, visit www.shell.com.

Globally, Shell is building an integrated power business that will provide customers with low-carbon and renewable energy solutions. Shell Renewables and Energy Solutions spans trading, generation and supply. We offer integrated energy solutions including hydrogen, solar, wind and electric-vehicle charging at scale, while buying nature-based carbon credits and using technology to capture emissions from hard-to-abate sectors of the energy system. Today Shell has deployed or is developing more than 6 gigawatts of wind power generation capacity across North America, Europe, the UK and Asia, and in January 2022 Shell secured the seabed leases to develop up to 5 gigawatts of floating offshore wind in the ScotWind leasing round.

Shell’s target is to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050. For more information on our net-zero emissions customer-first strategy visit here.

About Inaccess

With a global presence, Inaccess is an innovative company providing centralized management solutions for Renewable Energy and Telecom infrastructure, mostly offered on a turn-key basis.

Inaccess is one of the largest independent solar SCADA leaders in the world with a cumulative portfolio of more than 30 GWp across more than 2500 sites and 57 countries. Our singular focus is to provide high-quality solutions to our clients (EPCs, O&Ms, Developers, and Funds) for better and effective management of their renewable assets.

Inaccess has the team capacity to implement the Plant SCADA system in many plants in parallel, allowing us to deliver several GWs in solar and storage projects annually around the world.

The Inaccess group is acknowledged as one of the leading independent monitoring providers for the utility-scale PV and Battery Storage segment globally. Inaccess has significant activity in wind, hybrid, mini-grid, and off-grid RES projects as well.

RES investors pressured by increased project development cost

Investors behind solar energy projects still in development are facing budget pressure as a result of a steep rise in equipment costs, prompting talks of increased tariffs for non-auction projects.

Price increases, compared to early 2021, have reached 35 percent for solar panels, 75 percent for AC electricity cables, 35 percent for DC cables, 20 percent for low and medium-voltage sub-stations, while the cost of metal bases has also risen.

Data presented recently by SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, at a recent energy conference showed that the construction cost of a standard solar farm has increased by 15 to 20 percent, in line with figures presented by IEA, the International Energy Agency.

Wind energy projects face similar rises in cost, which has prompted the energy ministry to increase non-auction tariffs for new projects of up to 6 MW to 89 euros per MW/h from 72 euros per MW/h.

 

 

Roof-mounted solar panels to be made compulsory throughout the EU

The EU’s new solar energy strategy, just unveiled, envisions solar panels on all residential roofs throughout Europe as of 2029, according to the REPowerEU plan.

The initiative for compulsory roof-mounted solar panel installations will begin with public and commercial buildings in 2026, followed by private homes in 2029.

As part of the plan, the EU has called for roof-mounted PV licensing procedures to be restricted to no more than three months, as well as for new buildings with specifications enabling solar-panel hosting.

EU member states will need to remove any obstacles preventing further RES expansion, while municipalities with populations of more than 10,000 will need to establish at least one energy community as of 2025. Also, low-income households and persons with special needs will need to be given access to energy communities.

The EU plan for roof-mounted solar panels is expected to add 19 TWh from the first year of development and 58 TWh by 2025.

 

 

 

Brussels promoting energy savings, consumer support extension

The European Commission is expected to present a plan tomorrow including proposals for energy savings, an end to Europe’s reliance on Russian energy sources, as well as support measures for consumers.

The consumer support measures could need to be extended for a longer period, stretching beyond June 30, 2022, according to the proposals.

A draft of the plan, obtained by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, notes that a reduction in energy demand as a result of a voluntary change in consumer habits, as well as through energy-efficiency fast-track measures, promises to lessen the shortage of Russian oil and gas should Moscow decide to disrupt supply to Europe.

For the short term, the Brussels proposals focus on cooling options concerning households as well as transportation choices, all voluntary. Reduced reliance on private vehicles, lower driving speeds, as well as avoidance of air-conditioning system usage in rooms not in use are among the proposals.

Emphasis is also placed on the use of solar energy at buildings, now more critical than ever before, the Brussels proposals note.

The European Commission’s proposals will be discussed at an EU summit on May 30 and 31 in an effort by leaders to reach common decisions.

 

 

Freeze on new RES connection terms throughout Greece

An energy ministry draft bill for a second round of RES licensing simplification measures will freeze, throughout Greece, RES grid connection applications accepted as well as connection terms that would otherwise be offered by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for pending new RES projects until RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved the operator’s plan for a grid capacity increase.

However, even when this grid capacity boost is approved by RAE, very few RES projects will be able to make progress as a minimal number of existing substations currently have minimum capacities of 10 MW, a draft bill prerequisite for distribution of capacity percentages concerning grid connections of small and medium-sized projects.

RAE does not face any time limits for its approval of the grid capacity boost. Officials fear the delay could last months. Until RAE’s approval, DEDDIE/HEDNO will only accept RES project applications and offer connection terms for net-metering systems, virtual net-metering as well as roof-mounted solar panels.

Unlimited bidding system to also apply for next RES auction

A continual bidding system offering RES auction participants an unlimited number of bids, used for previous sessions, will continue to apply for the next auction, the first to be held under a revised support framework for the sector’s wind and solar energy projects.

Prior to this decision, energy ministry officials had considered limiting bids, for project tariffs, to one per session for investors, from the next RES auction onwards. This one-off bidding system will now be reexamined at a latter date.

Other changes will be introduced as of the next RES auction, including different starting prices for wind and solar energy projects as installation costs for the two RES technologies nowadays differ.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas recently informed that tariffs for a total capacity of 1,000 MW would be offered at the next RES auction. The ministry, he added, intends to stage one further RES auction within 2022, also for 1,000 MW.

SPEF: PV costs up 30-75%, tariff reduction thoughts must be abandoned

Solar panel prices were up 30 percent for orders placed in March compared to a year earlier, while prices for AC cables, also used for solar panel installations, are as much as 75 percent higher compared to levels in 2019 and 2020, Dr. Stelios Loumakis, president of SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, has pointed out.

In response to these higher costs, the SPEF president called on authorities to abandon any thoughts of reduced tariffs for new solar energy projects currently being developed.

Installation costs for XT/MT substations have also risen considerably, up by 20 percent over the past year, according to Dr. Loumakis.

In addition, power grid operator IPTO’s connection term costs have also risen to levels double those of a few years earlier.

These connection term increases are not exclusively linked to higher-priced equipment but also to network upgrades being carried out by IPTO in order to boost capacity, projects whose cost is passed on to investors.

Solar, wind energy facility installation costs up over 30%

Solar and wind energy park installation costs have risen considerably, internationally, since early 2021, driven higher by the pandemic’s impact on the global economy, supply chain and labor,  unfavorable market developments now exacerbated by the impact of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

According to a new study conducted by LevelTen Energy, monitoring RES sector transactions worldwide, installation costs last year rose by 28.5 percent in North America and by 27.5 percent in Europe, and have continued rising this year, up 9.7 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, taking the average RES installation cost to 57 euros per MWh.

These unfavorable developments have wiped out RES sector gains achieved over the past decade or so, during which RES installation costs have fallen.

Steel prices in Europe skyrocketed to 1,650 euros per ton in March, up from 1,100 euros per ton last October, and have since eased slightly to levels of around 1,400 euros per ton.

The increased RES costs come as a challenge to the EU’s objective for major RES growth as a means of achieving climate-change targets and drastically reducing Europe’s reliance on natural gas.

Despite these price increases, the cost of RES-based electricity generation still remains far lower than that of fossil fuel-generated electricity.

 

Major RES input lowers electricity price to near zero Sunday afternoon

Greatly increased renewable energy contributions – covering over 80 percent of demand – during yesterday’s weekend siesta hours of 2pm to 5pm pushed down the wholesale electricity price to virtually zero, or 0.09 euros per MWh.

RES input reached approximately 5 GW (wind and solar energy units), while demand was limited to just over 6 GW, enabling authorities to withdraw from the market lignite and gas-fired power stations.

On the same day, when RES input eventually fell and gas-fired power station contributions were brought back into the grid, the electricity price level rebounded to 283 euros per MWh by the evening.

The wholesale electricity price averaged 168.22 euros per MWh on Sunday, a 27 percent reduction compared to Saturday.

Similar price fluctuations were also recorded in other parts of Europe over the weekend. Negative prices were recorded in Germany and the Netherlands, at -2.49 euros per MWh, and they were even lower in Belgium, at -17.97 euros per MWh. These negative prices essentially mean that consumers are paid to use electricity.

Today, electricity market conditions are back to the ongoing energy crisis’ normal levels. The average wholesale electricity price is at 243.08 euros per MWh, up 44.5 percent compared to yesterday, despite RES input representing 51.1 percent of the energy mix.

JinkoSolar delivers over 500,000 modules for Kozani project, one of Europe’s biggest

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, has announced that it has delivered its bifacial modules to a 204-MW Solar Power Plant in Kozani, northern Greece.

The Kozani project consists of 18 project sites adding up to a total capacity of 204 MW. JinkoSolar has delivered more than 500,000 bifacial modules to juwi Hellas Renewable Energy Sources S.A.

The Kozani project, inaugurated yesterday, will deliver up to 320 million kilowatt-hours per annum when fully ramped up, supplying electricity to more than 75,000 households. The Kozani project is one of the largest bifacial projects ever built in Europe.

Mr. Frank Niendorf, General Manager of JinkoSolar Europe, commented: “We are delighted that juwi Hellas, one of the leading renewable energy specialists globally, has once again placed their trust in the superior quality and reliable performance of our solar modules for this impressive mega project in Greece. The Kozani project has become Europe’s benchmark for renewable energy. It is also one of the largest bifacial projects ever built in Europe, and JinkoSolar is very proud to be a part of such an important milestone for our industry.”

Mr. Dimitris Varlamis, JinkoSolar Head of Sales for South Eastern Europe, commented: “We are very proud to contribute to this emblematic project which is by far the biggest solar energy project in Greece and one of the largest project in Europe featuring our high-performance bifacial modules. We would like to thank juwi Hellas, and HELPE for their trust in JinkoSolar and we look forward to a long-term strategic partnership with the juwi team.”

 

Sweden’s OX2 buys 500-MW RES portfolio, eyeing further moves

Swedish company OX2 has acquired wind and solar energy projects in Greece with a total capacity of 500 MW, a development that serves as a reminder of the steadily growing interest of European and international investors in the country’s RES market.

OX2 already possesses an extensive past in the Greek market, having collaborated with local companies to develop RES projects offering a total capacity in excess of 4 GW, the Swedish company has pointed out.

Further details on the deal’s seller, or sellers, have not been disclosed, but it is understood OX2’s acquisition concerns projects that are currently at different stages of development in various parts of Greece.

The Swedish company is preparing to assemble a team in Greece comprised of personnel from the Greek market as well as employees already with the company, sources have informed energypress.

OX2 plans to also examine further investment opportunities in the Greek market and is eyeing offshore wind farm, energy storage and hydrogen-related investments, a top-ranked company official has told energypress.

“Greece is a very interesting market for OX2. Approximately 20 percent of energy consumed is imported and 15TWh of lignite-fired power will be replaced by 2028,” noted Paul Stormoen, chief executive officer at OX2. “The country has strong sources, serious prospects for development of green energy projects, and plans to install over 5 GW in solar units and more than 3 GW in wind units by 2030. OX2 is aiming for a long-term presence and can accelerate the energy transition by utilizing its high expertise in the development of RES projects,” he continued.

Last year, OX2 formed subsidiaries in Romania and Italy and also developed a solar energy hub in Spain. The company is active in ten European markets.

 

RES project applications over 2030 limit, halt considered

RES investor applications submitted to power grid operator IPTO for connection terms concerning wind and solar energy facilities already greatly exceed the grid’s planned capacity for 2030, by 10 GW, taking into account prospective grid infrastructure upgrades.

This excess capacity has prompted the energy ministry to consider suspending the submission of any new applications until authorities have found solutions to manage the accumulation of project applications already submitted.

IPTO has completed its assessment of applications concerning 2020 and has offered connection terms to successfully applicants.

The operator is now preparing to process applications lodged in 2021 and during the first quarter of 2022.

The current total capacity of RES projects, either already operating or which have received connection terms up until the end of 2020, is 19.6 GW.

Applications submitted in 2021 and so far in 2022, all of which need to be evaluated, represent a total capacity of 19 GW.

Greece’s updated National Energy and Climate Plan has projected an installed RES capacity of 25 GW by 2030.

Taking into account all grid expansion projects included in the ten-year investment plans of IPTO and DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, as well as national and transboundary grid interconnection plans, plus anticipated energy storage projects, the country’s RES capacity will reach a maximum of 28.5 GW in 2030.

 

Brussels draft backs urgent gas storage refill for next winter

EU member state leaders are expected to back a European Commission draft calling for an immediate refill of gas storage facilities throughout the EU, in preparation for next winter, when they meet at a summit next week, scheduled for March 24 and 25.

“Refilling of gas storage across the Union should start now. Member States and the Commission will urgently coordinate measures necessary to ensure adequate levels of gas storage before the next winter”, notes a draft prepared for the imminent summit, Reuters has reported.

The European Commission will propose rules by next month requiring EU countries to collectively ensure gas stores are at least 90 percent full by October 1 each year. The EU’s current gas storage facilities are currently 26 percent full.

The European Commission plans to present, in May, a detailed roadmap to EU member states for a drastic reduction of Russian natural gas, oil and coal imports by 2027.

A preliminary plan announced last week includes measures such as an increase of LNG imports, as well as tripled wind and solar energy capacity, installed, in the EU by 2030.

 

 

Smaller, bigger solar energy investors face differing prospects

Smaller and major-scale solar energy investors face differing prospects amid RES investment opportunities offered by extremely higher wholesale electricity prices as these opportunities are being largely offset by higher equipment costs.

Sharply higher wholesale electricity prices have generated stronger investment opportunities for bigger RES investors, while, for smaller players, these prospects are being dampened by higher RES equipment costs, severely diminishing their more modest profit margins.

Demand for solar panels has surged around Europe in recent times, pushing up prices. The cost of solar panel mounting systems has also risen as a result of recent sanctions imposed on Russian steel exports, which have driven steel prices higher.

Solar panel prices had begun falling early in 2022 following a period of pandemic-related increases, but are now rising again with no price de-escalation seen in the short term, RES sector officials have projected.

 

RES producer certificate applications up in February

RES producer certificate applications rebounded in the February cycle to reach a total of 221 for a capacity of 3,196 MW, more than three times the capacity of the previous cycle, last October, whose slowdown was prompted by a new regulation requiring letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MWh to accompany applications.

Net-metering and green PPA prospects are believed to be the main driving forces behind this elevated RES interest.

A total of 127 RES producer certificate applications representing a total capacity of 960 MW were submitted in October.

Of the February cycle’s 221 applications, 73 concern solar energy projects representing a total capacity of 1,833 MW. These applications include a number of exceptionally big projects, such as a 300-MW solar energy park in Thessaly, central Greece, as well as a 250-MW project in the mainland.

Wind energy projects followed with 70 applications totaling 1,118 MW. A prospective 315-MW wind energy farm planned for the Peloponnese is the biggest among these applications, followed by a 147.5-MW facility in Greece’s northeast.

Small-scale hydropower unit applications also figured prominently in the February cycle, reaching 66 for a total of 52.8 MW.

The February cycle also included 7 applications for hybrid RES units totaling 124 MW, as well as 5 applications for biomass units with a total capacity of 18.5 MW.

ELPE acquires 303-MW PV project, 16 MW of units in operation

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) has acquired a new solar energy facility with a 303-MW capacity, currently at the licensing stage, and also added to the company portfolio 16 additional MW of RES units now in operation, both dynamic moves made as part of the energy group’s strategy for further RES growth.

More specifically, ELPE has just signed an agreement with RES development company FEN SOL for the 303-MW solar facility, consisting of two solar energy farms at Meliti, in northern Greece’s Florina area.

In its other big move, ELPE has acquired solar parks offering a total of 16 MW in the Viotia area, northwest of Athens, from Trina Solar. These projects, already functioning, have secured tariff levels at very satisfactory price levels.

In addition, ELPE is also moving ahead with licensing procedures for a further 20 MW and has completed its development of a major-scale solar energy park with a 204-MW capacity in Kozani, northern Greece. The company now expects power grid operator IPTO to soon connect this project to the grid.

The Kozani project’s addition to the grid will increase ELPE’s capacity of operating RES units to a total of nearly 300 MW, chief executive Andreas Siamisiis noted during a presentation of the group’s annual financial results.

Ministry preparing non-auction tariff deadline extension for investors

Investors behind solar and wind energy projects planning to secure non-auction tariffs for their projects will be given extensions beyond an upcoming February 28 deadline, based on a legislative revision being prepared by the energy ministry for ratification, energypress sources have informed.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has decided to extended the non-auction tariff deadline for investors in acknowledgment of major project development delays prompted by supply chain disruptions on a worldwide scale, as well as construction issues that were faced by investors following problems caused by a recent extreme weather system that severely affected the country’s ability to operate.

However, the deadline extension to be granted to investors through the upcoming revision is not expected to be extensive. The energy ministry has been contemplating granting a one-month extension, but a greater time period is now considered highly likely.

 

Small-scale solar energy project interest declines

RES project applications submitted to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO by small to medium-sized investors have dropped dramatically over the past year, following a surge in interest, subdued by lower tariffs offered for green energy, a rise in the cost of RES equipment purchases, as well the increased incidence of connection-term application rejections by the operator.

The biggest decrease in applications concerns the solar energy sector as the aforementioned factors only just make smaller-scale PV investments feasible and far less attractive prospects than in the past.

Applications submitted to DEDDIE/HEDNO concern RES projects that are to be connected to the low and medium-voltage networks and which have capacities of up to 8 MW.

It is the first time such a dip in solar project applications has occurred since a resurgence in investment interest early in 2018.

According to data provided by SPEF, Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, for an energypress survey, 98 percent of RES project applications submitted to DEDDIE/HEDNO between 2018 and 2021 concerned solar energy systems, 78.2 percentage of these with capacities of up to 500 kW and 98.5 percent with capacities of up to 1 MW.

 

Roof-mounted PV generation promises savings amid the energy crisis

Investing in a household solar panel system, based on two alternatives offered by the state, the solar panels on roofs program and net metering, promises to offer consumers energy cost savings of between 5,800 and 10,000 euros.

Electricity generated by solar panels and injected entirely into the grid through the solar panels on roofs program is sold at a rate of 87 euros per MWh over a twenty-year period.

In the case of net metering, the network is essentially utilized like an energy storage system for energy not consumed the moment it is generated. Photovoltaic production injected into the grid is offset with electricity the system’s holder consumes from the network.

The solar panels on roofs program is a better option for households with small and occasional consumption patters, such as holiday homes.

 

 

 

Survey Digital, Alfen establish Field Service partnership

“Survey Digital Photovoltaics SA (Athens, Greece), an expert company in renewable energy and power electronics, and Alfen (Almere, The Netherlands), an expert company in electricity grid and EV charging technology, have announced a Field Service partnership for the Greek territory, starting with Athens and Thessaloniki.

Survey Digital engineers have received technical training from ALFEN in order to execute Field Service activities in accordance with OEM specifications. This will mark the beginning of ALFEN’s ambitious growth throughout Greece in EV charging supported by SD’s extensive experience and knowledge of the Greek market.

“We are thrilled about our new collaboration and we are honored to enter a new era in electromobility, with a company that has such expertise and magnitude”, said Dr. Kostis Daniilidis, Managing Partner of Survey Digital Photovoltaics SA.

“Survey Digital has shown themselves as a reliable partner in this young EV-charging industry. We are looking forward to expanding the market together in Greece providing top customer support towards our Alfen customers”, said Eric Boers, Manager Global Service Operations Alfen Charging Equipment.

‘EC to announce separate support system for offshore windfarms in 1Q ‘22’

The European Commission will announce a separate support system for offshore windfarms in the first quarter of 2022, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou has informed in a Euractiv interview, indicating this will facilitate Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ recently announced objective for an additional 2 GW in offshore wind farms by 2030.

Greece, which plans to withdraw all lignite facilities by 2028, will greatly depend on the addition of new RES units to replace the resulting capacity loss, Sdoukou noted.

The country plans to double its wind and solar energy capacity by 2030 so that the RES sector can represent 64 percent of Greece’s total electricity generation, the official pointed out.

A series of measures boosting the trust of local communities to host wind energy facilities will be needed, Sdoukou said, admitting resistance at local level has risen along with a growing recognition by the public of the advantages offered by wind turbines for eco-friendly energy.

Single-bid limit, different starting prices at new RES auctions

The country’s new RES auctions, mixed sessions, which were approved last week by the European Commission for 2022 to 2025, will feature a number of key changes, including an entirely different bidding system entitling investors to just one bid for their projects instead of a succession of descending bids, as has been the case until now.

The energy ministry believes this revised bidding system will lead to a further reduction in tariff levels for projects.

In another important change, the new mixed RES auctions will feature separate starting prices for solar and wind technologies, instead of one price for both, as the two technologies have different installation costs.

The new regulations will also ensure that each of the two RES technologies will be represented by at least 30 percent of the capacity on offer as both solar and wind are considered vital for the energy mix.

In another key change, the new regulations will impose representation limits on players.

Approximately 3 GW of 4.2 GW in new RES projects are planned to be remunerated through the new mixed RES auctions.

The energy ministry is planning to announce a first auction, offering tariffs for 600 MW, by the end of the year so that it may be staged in March, 2022.

Technology-specific RES auctions have not been ruled out by the European Commission if an appropriate balance in tariffs for wind and solar energy units is not achieved through the mixed RES auctions.