Energy storage interest enormous, applications for over 12 GW

Investment interest for the installation of energy storage units is already considerable, even though related licensing and support mechanism frameworks have yet to be established, data presented yesterday by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has shown.

According to the data, RAE, since October, 2019, has received 123 applications for prospective energy storage and pumped storage projects representing a total of 12,229 MW.

Of these applications, 110 concern energy storage systems representing a total capacity of 9,102 MW, the RAE data showed.

To date, RAE has already issued production licenses for 38 energy storage units with a total capacity of 3,582 MW.

A further 12 applications representing 2,447 MW are for pumped storage units, not including a Terna Energy project in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece.

So far, RAE has issued three licenses for pumped storage facilities representing 807 MW.

Energy ministry officials already suspect the energy storage market may experience overheating issues, as has been the case with the RES market.

GEK TERNA building vertically integrated energy group

Listed GEK TERNA construction and energy group has further reinforced its position in the energy market following its acquisition of stakes held by Engie and Qatar Petroleum in the Heron energy group.

As a result, GEK TERNA has now gained control of Heron’s energy production and supply activities.

The group’s objectives for an increased installed capacity in RES and conventional electricity generation promise to make GEK TERNA the country’s second biggest energy group, following PPC, the power utility.

Group member Terna Energy aims to increase its installed RES capacity to 3 GW by 2025, while, during the same period, or possibly one year earlier, the group intends to boost its conventional energy production capacity to 1.5 GW.

Heron is equipped with two gas-fueled power stations offering a total capacity of 600 MW, while the company has also announced it will co-develop an 877-MW power station in Komotini, northern Greece, with Motor Oil.

The GEK Terna group, with its subsidiaries Terna Energy in renewable energy, and Heron, for conventional energy production and supply, has created a 4.5-GW portfolio capable of providing electricity products through decarbonized operations.

The listed group has taken a big step into the new era of energy supply through power and purchase agreements (PPAs) as Heron will be able to offer major-scale energy consumers bilateral supply contracts for green and conventional energy.

Energy storage subsidy program in 1Q next year

A competitive procedure to offer 200 million euros in subsidies for energy storage projects is planned to take place in the first quarter of 2022, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has told the 6th Delphi Economic Forum, making clear the ministry’s determination to utilize as swiftly as possible funds being made available for energy storage through the national recovery plan, dubbed Greece 2.0.

In the lead-up, the energy ministry intends to invite investors interested in participating in the procedure to submit investment plans in autumn.

The procedure will be based on a related framework, describing the conditions and terms, to require the European Commission’s approval.

The subsidy program will financially support energy storage installations to offer capacity totaling hundreds of MW, the minister told the forum.

The Greece 2.0 national recovery plan, to carry funds expected to be worth a total of 450 million euros, will also be used to support the development of pumped storage stations.

Investors have expressed tremendous interest in the development of energy storage units. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has received a large number of production license applications for various RES technology units.

Since 2019, RAE has received a total of 98 applications for energy storage units, pumped storage facilities and hybrid stations, representing a total of 8,213 MW, which, along with a prospective pumped storage station set for development by Terna Energy in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece, will reach 8,893 MW.

To date, RAE has granted licenses for the majority of these applications, while 34, representing 4,519 MW, still need to be processed.

 

Unlocking Greece’s offshore wind potential – Challenges, opportunities

Greece’s attempts to develop its untapped offshore wind potential have stalled in the past, but renewed investor interest and government commitment to set up a sound regulatory framework has strengthened its prospects.

By Dimitris Assimakis, Partner, and Minas Kitsilis, Senior Associate, Reed Smith.”

Introduction

Since 2006, Greece has taken several different approaches to the development of offshore wind projects. So far, these policy measures have had few concrete results. Given the present ambitious national energy and climate plan for the period up to 2030, dictating at least a twofold increase of the existing renewable energy capacity, the immediate necessity for new capacity due to the government’s decision to cease the operation of all existing lignite-fired power plants by 2023, as well as the existence of certain impediments to the further development of onshore wind farms, such as the availability of land, the pressure from other activities, such as tourism, and the necessity for the considerable expansion or reinforcement of the grid, offshore wind is expected to start playing an important role in the country’s pursuit of cost-effective and efficient renewable energy prospects.

For several years now other EU coastal countries with significant sea fronts have developed offshore wind projects and so this could certainly be a successful approach for the country with the most extensive coastline among all Mediterranean countries and one of the highest offshore wind potential in the region.

Therefore, aside from certain technical challenges (e.g. steep sea-bed drop-off around mainland Greece and around most of the Greek islands) and foreign affairs policy issues (e.g. territorial disputes in the Aegean Sea), a clear national regulatory framework, which adequately addresses spatial planning, licensing, grid interconnection and economic support issues, is also required in order for offshore wind technology to deliver its significant potentials in the country’s power generation mix.

Ongoing structured public discussions with interested investors and stakeholders as well as recent policy statements from the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy are expected to result in an offshore wind-specific framework within this year that will enable the exploitation of this valuable renewable energy source also in Greece. Already, major international market players such as Ocean Winds (EDPR and Engie) in cooperation with Terna Energy, the largest renewable power producer in Greece, Iberdrola, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Equinor are actively involved in these discussions, while reportedly other international investors such as Blue Float Energy and Innogy are closely following the developments in the sector. Moreover, local market players such as PPC Renewables, the renewables arm of Public Power Corporation (Greece’s largest power producer and supplier), Copelouzos group and RF Energy are actively engaged in this process. These deliberations are conducted within a very positive momentum for the offshore wind sector, following the recent release of the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy and the great technological developments in the sector, especially with respect to the imminent commercialisation of large-scale floating wind projects, which seem to be the most proper offshore wind technology for Greece given the depth of its territorial waters.

Past approaches stalled

Until mid-2010 the generally applicable licensing scheme at the initiative of interested investors was also applicable for offshore wind projects’ development, licensing, spatial planning and economic support against transparent and objective criteria and a regulated feed-in tariff through a standardised long term (20 years) power purchase agreement with the energy market operator as offtaker and dispatch priority for the power produced. In this context a large number of licence applications for offshore wind projects were filed with the competent Regulatory Authority for Energy in Greece (RAE).

However, only two fixed-bottom offshore projects were licensed by RAE in 2012, one of an approximately 500 MW capacity offshore the island of Lemnos in the north Aegean Sea and another one of 216 MW capacity offshore the port of  Alexandroupolis in the Thracian Sea. On the other hand, most of the licence applications filed within the period are still pending assessment from RAE with unclear further development options in anticipation of the new offshore wind-specific framework.

Subsequently, in mid-2010 Greece introduced a special centralised planning scheme for offshore wind projects to be rolled out at the initiative of the jointly competent Ministers of finance and economy, maritime affairs, foreign affairs, national defence, culture, tourism, environment and energy by virtue of a new provision introduced into the Renewables Law 3468/2006 (i.e. Article 6A), which rendered the previous open licensing scheme inapplicable for offshore wind projects.

That rather unclear approach entailed the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of potential offshore project sites before the respective projects were licensed by the Minister of Environment and Energy, instead of RAE, and before they were auctioned off for construction through an open public tender process (public works procurement process) against economic exploitation by the successful bidder during the concession period; presumably through some long term power purchase agreement with the energy market operator as offtaker against an agreed feed-in tariff and dispatch priority. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) and further site planning, installation and construction works licensing until the operation period (inclusive) would follow the generally applicable legislation for renewables, except for some special provisions of law for the concession of sea areas in favour of renewable energy projects that would be anyways addressed as above.

This framework also entailed a number of implementing ministerial decisions and presidential decrees that were never adopted as this approach was never actually pursued in spite of a SEA study commissioned to this end by the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources in Greece (CRES) and presented in September 2015.

New approach required │ key issues

Licensing framework – recent developments & challenges ahead

The recent review of the Environmental Licensing Law 4014/2011 in May 2020 (i.e. by virtue of Law 4685/2020) raised certain hopes at it was aimed at simplifying and expediting the environmental licensing of projects of any type, including renewable energy projects, as well as at simplifying the first licensing milestone for renewable energy projects before RAE. Offshore wind projects are qualified as ‘special renewable energy projects’ and may benefit from the above simplified licensing framework as soon as an offshore wind-specific framework is adopted. In effect, this licensing framework reinstates the previous licensing scheme at the initiative of interested investors but ultimately, fails to provide any coherent legal certainty as it does not explicitly repeal the rather problematic provision of Article 6A of Renewables Law 3468/2006 mentioned above.

So although the general environmental licensing and the RES specific licensing framework were improved through the adoption of Law 4685/2020, there was not actually any real value for the offshore wind sector from this legislative process, since two parallel and apparently, inconsistent licensing regimes are currently in place although neither in full force and effect until Greece finally decides whether it will go on with a centralised or a develop-led planning system. Moreover, the licensing framework in place does not really address what will happen with the existing two electricity production licences granted as well as the various licence applications that are still pending assessment under the past licensing scheme.

Apparently, the envisaged new framework should provide for a consistent, coherent and well-structured licensing regime enabling as well the performance of any early development actions from the investors, in the sense that they should be allowed, on the basis of an exclusive right, to enter into a specific sea area in order to perform wind measurement campaigns and preliminary field surveys.

Spatial planning issues

The Special Spatial Planning Framework for Renewables of December 2008 provides for wind power in general and onshore and offshore wind power in particular. Such provisions include generally applicable criteria, limitations and exclusion zones for wind energy and special ones for onshore and offshore wind projects. However, it is commonly admitted that the said framework needs to be reviewed to account for technological developments and acquired experience in spatial planning and deployment of renewables not only in Greece but also in the EU, including current best practices.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy is already working on updating the framework but it will take some time to achieve concrete results due to the technical and SEA studies involved. In addition, it must also be compatible with the regional and other special frameworks for spatial planning that are also under review pursuant to Part A of Law 4417/2016 and most importantly, with the still pending maritime spatial planning for marine areas in Greece according to Part A of Law 4546/2018 (as per the relevant EU Directive 2014/89) for the avoidance of conflicts. An interim solution may have to be sought in this connection as otherwise neither central nor individual planning will be feasible and legally sound against a reasonable time schedule and certain target capacity for offshore wind development by 2030 and beyond.

Sovereign rights and public international law

Greece has reserved the right to exercise all its sovereign rights under Article 3 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to expand its territorial sea beyond six (6) nautical miles, which is the current breadth thereof, up to twelve (12) nautical miles measured from baselines determined in accordance with the UNCLOS. Greece has signed and ratified the UNCLOS by virtue of Law 2321/1995. Recently, by virtue of Law 4767/2021, Greece has expanded its territorial sea to twelve (12) nautical miles in the whole of the Ionian Sea area up to the Cape Tainaron in south Peloponnese, while it is reiterated therein Greece’s sovereign rights to do the same with all other sea areas, including the Aegean Sea, being the area with the highest offshore wind potential.

However, given the historical tension between Greece and Turkey concerning the Aegean Sea, it is rather questionable whether Greece will finally decide to exercise such sovereign rights and expand its territorial sea to twelve (12) nautical miles also in the Aegean Sea, according to the UNCLOS, in the years to come. In this respect, it is reasonably expected that any development of offshore wind projects in the Aegean Sea will need to be limited within the six (6) nautical miles zone. Further, the establishment and delimitation of the Greek exclusive economic zone by means of valid and legally binding agreements with neighbouring states pursuant to the UNCLOS is still pending too, save for the recent agreements with Italy in the Ionian Sea and Egypt in part of the Mediterranean Sea south-east of the island of Crete.

Proper support scheme for offshore wind

The new support scheme for renewables in Greece introduced by virtue of Law 4414/2016 in line with the European Commission’s Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy for the period 2014 – 2020 provides for operating aid to renewables through a technology-specific sliding feed-in premium (FiP) scheme for the vast majority of new projects which is added as a premium to wholesale market revenues and thus tops up their market revenues in order for the operating aid to reach an acceptable level of support measured against a technology-specific reference tariff (RT).

Aside from small scale and experimental projects, since 2017 the RTs are set through competitive bidding processes (auctions) on project basis for the two mature technologies (i.e. onshore wind and solar photovoltaic) in technology-specific and technology-neutral auctions run by RAE. In the event that the wholesale market price of a renewable technology exceeds the applicable RT, the excess is rebated to a special account for renewables kept by the RES operator and aggregator of last resort (DAPEEP) and hence the operating aid contract is a standardised two-way contract for differences (CfD) between the applicable RT (as strike price) and the producer’s revenues from the wholesale electricity market.

The auctions scheme is expected to extend beyond 2020, likely up to 2024 and for a certain overall capacity threshold not in excess of 2.1 GW, in accordance with the relevant statements made by the Minister of Environment and Energy in mid-November 2020.  However, technology-specific auctions for offshore wind or technology-neutral auctions including offshore wind are not likely to be feasible for Greece in this time schedule. In the meantime, previous auctions for renewable electricity have resulted in applicable RTs for onshore wind and solar photovoltaic projects below wholesale market prices for certain time periods. Therefore, alternative revenue structures involving corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPA) cannot be excluded for onshore wind and solar photovoltaic or offshore wind projects in Greece in common with other countries where such alternatives are already pursued for some years now in the onshore wind and solar photovoltaic sectors, and recently also in the offshore wind sector. However, such structures are hardly suitable or bankable during the early days of a new sector development like offshore wind.

Optionally, individual aid without an auction process is also possible for renewable energy projects (including offshore wind) exceeding 250 MW or clusters of projects exceeding 250 MW and sharing common interconnection with the transmission system according to the said guidelines on State aid and Article 4 para 12 of Law 4414/2016. Individual aid requires prior notification to and approval from the European Commission. An implementing ministerial decision is still pending (para 12 was added to Article 4 of Law 4414/2016 in end-2019) for all renewable energy projects or clusters of such scale and importance for national and EU renewable energy targets, but it is reasonably expected soon. This option is reasonably considered more suitable, especially for floating offshore wind projects, and certainly more bankable at the early stages of any new renewable technology.

Moreover, Greece could consider when developing its national recovery and resilience plan in the context of the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility possible priority actions in order to facilitate the development of offshore wind projects in the country.

Grid connection

However, unlocking the great wind potential of the Greek seas and islands depends on the development of some critical interconnections, some of which are expected in the short to medium term. The anticipated completion of the interconnection of the island of Crete with the high-voltage system in the Athens metropolitan area by 2023 and of all Cycladic islands by 2024 will enable the significant development of new wind power capacity on these islands but also in the sea areas around them covering a significant part of the south Aegean Sea.

Moreover, ADMIE, the Greek TSO, has included in its current ten-year development plan the progressive interconnection of all other major islands in the south-eastern and north Aegean Sea, such as the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Karpathos Lemnos, Lesvos, Samos and Chios by 2029,  covering therefore though such plan the remaining of the Aegean Sea.

ADMIE is actively participating in the discussions held for the formulation of the offshore-wind specific framework and clearly, one of the key issues which need to be addressed therein is the interlink of any offshore wind investment projects with ADMIE’s development plan and its role in the design, construction and financing of the necessary grid expansion and reinforcement works.

Strategic investments programme and offshore wind

Since 2011, Greece has had in place an investments facilitation programme whereby productive investments (private or public ones, foreign or domestic) which generate quantitative and qualitative results of major significance for the national economy (including other criteria on investment budget, employment creation, innovation and sustainability) are qualified by an inter-ministerial committee as ‘strategic investments’ and are entitled to one-stop-shop and fast-track licensing and development procedures, including environmental and spatial planning ones as well as land expropriation related ones and dispute resolution provisions.

Part B of Law 4608/2019 on attracting strategic investments aims at modernising, improving and enhancing the scope of application and the fast-track licensing and development procedures in favour of strategic investments. These new provisions include: special spatial plans on project basis; tax benefits (as individual State aid subject to applicable EU regulations); one-stop-shop and fast-track licensing within 45 calendar days per licence, permit, opinion or approval (subject to special EU law provisions and procedures, e.g. public awareness on environmental matters), and overall within three (3) years from the MoU between the strategic investor and the Minister of Finance and Development on the time schedules and mutual obligations; cash grants for research and development (R&D) projects, and a UNCITRAL arbitration clause for disputes relating to the said MoU. On the other hand, applications for qualification under the new programme can be filed until the end of 2023.

Greece’s strategic investments programme has facilitated to some extent the spatial planning and licensing of a number of investments, mainly in tourism and other commercial sectors including some solar photovoltaic and solar thermal projects of scale and clusters of onshore wind projects. However, it has been limited to licensing aspects thereof and it does not address operating aid or other economic support aspects. Furthermore, it captures urban or onshore (including seashore) spatial planning, but it does not capture offshore aspects and maritime spatial planning that is still pending as described above. Therefore, account taken of the end-2023 current deadline for applications under the new programme, it is yet to be considered in more detail how the new programme for strategic investments in Greece could facilitate offshore wind. A recent positive development though is the special benefit conferred now under the programme to innovative renewable projects, amongst which offshore wind projects, in relation to their priority for grid connection over other projects using more typical renewable energy technologies, such as onshore wind and solar photovoltaic projects.

The way forward    

Experience from other jurisdictions has shown that formulating a comprehensive and appropriate legal framework for offshore wind in any given country is a challenging multi-disciplinary exercise. Structured public discussions with interested investors and stakeholders are ongoing in Greece during and have been for the last couple of years. Specific proposals are also being put forward for public consultation by stakeholders like the Hellenic Wind Energy Association but also from major global offshore wind developers. The Ministry of Environment and Energy has also announced that it will present a legislative proposal for offshore wind by mid-2021 taking into account the particularities of the Aegean Sea and international experience in offshore wind industry and technologies. We are confident that the ongoing process will result in a comprehensive legislative proposal for an offshore wind-specific framework. However, time and planning are of the essence for long lead capital intensive infrastructure investments like offshore wind to materialise within a certain time schedule, e.g. by 2030, on legally sound and commercially sensible and therefore bankable conditions in order to pursue successfully the national and EU energy, climate and environmental policies.

 

Terna Energy pumped storage station construction in October

Terna Energy has taken a final investment decision, worth 500 million euros, on the development of a pumped storage station complex in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece, whose construction is planned to begin in October and be completed within four years, the company’s hydroelectric projects director, Yioula Tsiknakou, has informed an IENE online workshop on energy storage.

The complex is planned to generate a total of 816 GWh, annually, and offer a total installed capacity of 680 MW (production) and 730 MW (pumping).

It will consist of two independent upper reservoirs, Agios Georgios and Pyrgos, with respective capacities of approximately 5 and 2 million cubic meters, and power utility PPC’s existing common lower reservoir, Kastraki Lake, developed in 1960.

Over 70 percent of the investment’s funds are planned to stem from the Greek market.

Its construction is expected to create approximately 1,200 jobs while a 100-member workforce will be employed once the unit is in operation.

Pumped storage stations are the most appropriate form of technology for mass energy storage, Tsiknakou, the Terna Energy official, told the IENE workshop.

Pumped storage stations are nowadays the most widespread mass energy storage solution, representing over 94 percent of installed energy storage capacity and offering total capacity of 161 GW around the world.

Offshore wind farm framework within first half, auction in ‘22

A legal framework for offshore wind farms will be ready within the next few months, no later than the end of the year’s first half, enabling investments in this sector to begin in Greece, the energy ministry has assured.

The energy ministry’s leadership is expected to reiterate this stance, without offering further scheduling details, at an event to be staged today by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association. Energy minister Kostas Skrekas and the ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou will be participating.

Norway, a country with extensive offshore wind farm knowhow, will be strongly represented at the ELETAEN event. The Norwegian Ambassador to Greece, Frode Overland Andersen, and Daniel Willoch, a representative of NORWEA, the Norwegian Wind Energy Association, will take part.

So, too, will Giles Dickson, CEO at Brussels-based WindEurope, promoting the use of wind power in Europe.

If all goes as planned with efforts being made by the energy ministry, as well as ELETAEN, a first auction for offshore wind farms in Greece could be staged within the first half of 2022.

Considerable progress has been made in recent months, but pending issues on important details concerning spatial and licensing matters, connectivity with power grid operator IPTO’s network, as well as a remuneration formula for investors, all still need to be settled. The overall effort is complex and involves a number of ministries.

Investor interest in offshore wind farms is high as studies project electricity costs concerning floating units in Greece will experience a 40 percent decline by 2050. This cost, according to an older European Commission study, was estimated to drop from 76 euros per MWh in 2030 to 46 euros per MWh in 2050.

The same study estimated Greece’s offshore wind farm capacity would reach 263 GW, a prospect promising investors sustainability for the development of such projects.

Norway’s Equinor has already expressed the strongest interest for offshore wind energy development in Greece. Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners, also a major global player, has also shown some signs of interest.

As for Greek companies, TERNA Energy, the Copelouzos Group, and RF Energy have, in the past, submitted applications for offshore wind energy parks to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

 

PPC preparing sustainability-linked bond issue, Greece’s first

Influenced by the global investment community’s turn towards investments in eco-friendly energy, power utility PPC is preparing to issue a Sustainability-Linked Bond, a new financial tool reflecting this investor trend, within the first half of 2021.

The initiative promises to make PPC the first company in Greece to employ such a financial tool and one of just a few internationally.

The SLB is more elaborate than existing green bonds, linked to specific projects, as it is aligned with the wider sustainability prospects of bond issuers.

PPC, which has yet to set a date for its planned SLB issue, will commit to improving its sustainability performance over a predetermined period through CO2 emission reductions at an increasing rate, as specified in its new business plan.

Companies with lower emission levels represent lower-risk investments for investors, which enables green-oriented enterprises to achieve better borrowing terms.

Even so, PPC will not necessarily achieve any great interest rate improvement through an SLB issue, financing officials have pointed out.

However, looking ahead beyond the issue, a solid performance by the utility’s SLB in secondary-market trading would enable PPC to borrow at a lower cost should it return to capital markets at a future date.

The power utility’s credit rating is BB- while, just a year ago, the company was struggling to remain afloat. Much work still lies ahead before PPC is transformed into the dynamic eco-friendly company described in its new business plan.

TERNA Energy was the country’s first company to issue a green bond with a 60 million-euro issue in 2017 for capital that was utilized in renewable energy and waste management investments. The company made a follow-up move in 2019, raising 150 million euros at 2.6 percent through a green bond issue that was oversubscribed by over four times.

Petroleum group ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by 2030, is also considering green bonds as a financial tool.

Terna Energy sells Idaho wind farm for profit of more than $30m

Greece’s Terna Energy has announced the sale of its 138-MW Mountain Energy wind energy park in the US state of Idaho to Innergex Renewable Energy for a sum of 215 million dollars, securing a profit of more than 30 million euros.

This facility’s operating profit in 2019 reached 17.6 million dollars.

Following the sale of its Idaho unit, Terna Energy, which entered the American green energy market in 2011, now owns and operates three wind energy parks with a total capacity of approximately 512 MW, all in the state of Texas.

“Approximately ten years ago, we took a strategic decision to expand our investment program into the US market. This decision has proven to be extremely beneficial for the group and its shareholders as, besides the significant increase in group profitability, it has also offered major gains and capital for our new investment program,” noted Giorgos Peristeris, CEO at Terna Energy. “We have already planned 1.7 billion euros of investments in Greece for the green energy, pumped storage and waste management sectors,” he added.

Terna Energy will continue to bolster its growth in the US green energy market, Peristeris noted.

The company is focused on investment opportunities that promise big gains for shareholders, he said.

Terna Energy’s portfolio is now comprised of facilities – operational, under construction or at the pre-construction stage – with a total capacity in excess of 1,800 MW in Greece, the US, central and eastern Europe.

The group aims to increase its total installed capacity to 2,800 MW over the next five years.

 

PPC, Terna, Copelouzos resume talks for Crete RES partnership

Power utility PPC has resumed talks with Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group for a consortium to develop RES projects on Crete, but work is still needed if institutional complications are to be resolved.

The plan’s viability will depend on whether the consortium – if formed – can secure a contract with power grid operator IPTO to ensure a capacity reservation in the prospective Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

Approximately three years ago, Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group decided to merge two respective wind-energy projects covering Crete’s four prefectures, which took their combined capacity total to 950 MW, in order to facilitate an EU funding effort.

PPC also entered the picture just months ago, prior to the pandemic’s outbreak, for talks on the establishment of a three-member consortium. PPC Renewables, a PPC subsidiary, possesses wind-energy capacity on Crete.

The prospective venture planned by the trio entails transmission and sale to the mainland of 1 GW generated by wind-energy facilities. Each partner would hold a 33.3 percent stake in this venture.

 

 

Swift solution needed for Crete link project’s local resistance

The energy ministry is working to overcome resistance raised by regional authorities in Crete against the installation of a converter station needed for a submarine electricity grid interconnection project to link the island with Athens.

Cretan regional authorities have delivered a negative report on a plan by power grid operator IPTO, the project’s promoter, to install a converter station at Damasta in the Heraklion province.

The ministry needs to resolve the issue in order to issue an environmental permit for the interconnection project. The project’s completion target of 2023 could be threatened if this issue is not swiftly resolved.

A new round of talks involving top-ranked officials at the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and Cretan regional authorities could be held during the current week. Alternative solutions and offsetting measures that would compensate locals for any negative impact caused by the project are expected to be discussed.

IPTO appears set to sign an agreement with Prysmian, Nexans and Hellenic Cables – NKT, the winning bidders in a tender for the project’s cables. However, the pending environmental permit is needed.

Technical aspects of bids submitted to another project tender concerning two other converter stations and a substation are currently being assessed. Two consortiums, Terna – Siemens and Mytilineos – General Electric – Nari submitted bids for this tender.

Its next stage, an assessment of financial offers submitted by the aforementioned participants, will be made early in the year, Ariadne, an IPTO subsidiary formed for the Cretan interconnection project, has informed.

German players eyeing NECP opportunities ahead of Berlin forum

Greece’s major energy market opportunities, from the auto vehicle growth to decarbonization, renewable energy development, ambitious network investments and underwater cable interconnections are being eyed by German energy groups, preparing to participate at a high-level German-Hellenic Economic Forum next month.

The event, scheduled for March 9 in Berlin, is expected to be attended by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as a follow-up to a previous meeting between the two leaders in the German capital last August.

Greece’s new green agenda was tabled for the first time at that summer meeting, along with the idea to stage next month’s investment forum.

The Greek government, looking to execute an ambitious 44 billion-euro National Energy and Climate Plan by 2030, will gauge the level of German investor interest at the upcoming Berlin forum.

Leading German groups expected to participate at next month’s event include RWE, among the companies believed to be interested in supporting power utility PPC’s decarbonization effort, EON, eyeing opportunities at distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO; as well as Enercon, seeking wind energy partnership. Prospective partnerships with Greek players such as PPC, Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), Mytilineos and Terna Energy are expected to be discussed.

 

Terna

Copelouzos, Terna, PPC in Crete wind energy talks

Power utility PPC is engaged in talks with the Copelouzos and Terna Energy groups for the establishment of a joint venture to operate Cretan wind energy parks with a total capacity of approximately 1,000 MW.

The trio also intends to secure capacity in the Crete-Athens grid interconnection once this project, being developed by power grid operator IPTO, has been completed.

Details being discussed include the prospective stakes each of the three companies in the common venture. An even split of 33 percent each is one of the options being considered.

Two major Cretan wind energy projects being developed by Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group’s Elika were merged in 2017 to simplify their respective financing procedures through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), commonly known as the Juncker Package.

These wind energy parks, promising an overall capacity of approximately 950 MW, will be developed in four prefectures.

PPC’s involvement, if an agreement with Copelouzos and Terna Energy is reached, could offer the power utility a 330-MW capacity.

Besides the current talks with Copelouzos and Terna Energy, PPC has received over ten partnership offers by Greek and foreign firms over the past few months.

The power utility recently signed three Memorandums of Understanding for strategic partnerships in the renewable energy sector, including one with Masdar Taaleri Generation (MTG) concerning a 300-MW capacity.

Italian energy firms eyeing array of local investments, PM in Italy

Italian investors are displaying widespread interest for energy investments in the Greek market, including possible stakes in distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, power grid operator IPTO, gas utility DEPA’s two new entities DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, as well as joint ventures in wind energy stations, electric vehicle projects and smart grids.

Deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas, joining Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on an official visit to Rome today, is expected to be informed of this Italian investment interest. Thomas is scheduled to meet with Italian economic development minister Stefano Patuanelli.

The Greek Prime Minister, to meet with his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte, can also expect to hear of this Italian investment interest during talks which, besides the refugee crisis, will also address cross-border energy projects such as TAP and East Med.

Snam maintains the most emblematic of Italian investments in the Greek market at present with a 66 percent stake in gas grid operator DESFA, including control of the country’s natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure.

Italian firms are regarded as pioneers in a number of green-energy domains, including smart grids, electric vehicle recharging station installations along highways, even wave power projects.

Just days ago, a consortium comprising Eni, Fincantieri and Terna announced it would commercially develop its pilot project Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC) for wave energy generation, initially at small Italian islands, followed by projects abroad.

The Greek Prime Minister and his energy deputy will also meet with Italian entrepreneurs, including Eni gas e luce chief executive Alberto Chiarini.

Italy’s Terna, one of Europe’s biggest transmission system operators, is believed to be interested in acquiring a stake of IPTO and its Ariadne subsidiary, project promoter of the submarine Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

Enel is considering moves into networks, renewable energy investments and the electric vehicles sector.

Italgas, Italy’s biggest gas distributor and the continent’s third biggest, appears interested in DEPA Infrastructure. Italgas is believed to have reached a preliminary agreement to acquire fellow Italian company Eni gas e luce’s 49 percent stake and management rights in EDA Thess, covering the Thessaloniki and Thessaly areas.

Eni, increasing its involvement in pioneering projects, including wave energy, is believed to be looking to increase its Greek market presence, possibly through acquisitions.

 

 

PPC, IPTO see big potential in broadband development PPPs

Power utility PPC and power grid operator IPTO, both seeing enormous potential in the further utilization of their thousands of kilometers of distribution and electricity transmission networks covering the entire country, have emerged as contestants in a tender for a broadband network expansion project, one of Greece’s biggest Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to date.

PPC and IPTO know well their existing nationwide infrastructure is a treasure whose potential is far from fully realized. Fiber optics and a large range of telephone and internet services can be added to this infrastructure.

The PPP tender is offering contracts for the development of ultra-fast broadband networks in seven parts of Greece that have not been included in investment plans shaped by telephony providers. The project is budgeted at 870 million euros.

Besides PPC and IPTO, three telecom companies, OTE, Vodafone and Wind, four construction firms, Terna Energy, Mytilineos, Intrakat and AVAX, as well as the Sultanate of Oman’s Oman Fiber Optic SAOC have emerged as first-round contenders for the tender.

Partnerships could be established between some of these ten participants, or with other investors who may be emerge later on.

According to the tender’s initial terms, bidders or bidding teams are entitled to be awarded up to three regions.

RES interest high in September, applications total 2.1 GW

Investor interest for the development of new RES units, especially solar energy projects, as well as wind energy farms, remained high in September.

A total of 114 applications representing an overall capacity of 2,093 MW were submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, during the month.

Solar energy project applications represent the bulk of this interest, numbering 82 for a capacity at 1,642 MW, compared to 406 MW for wind energy applications.

A smaller number of applications concerning small-scale hydropower projects totaling 10 MW were also submitted in September. The authority also received one application for a 2-MW biomass unit, three applications for hybrid projects on Lesvos totaling 14 MW, and one bid for a 20-MW telethermal project in Megalopoli.

Cantreva led the way with solar energy project applications totaling 413 MW. Terna Energy submitted solar project applications representing an overall capacity of approximately 372 MW.

Sizeable moves were also made by Portugal’s EDPR, submitting 185 MW in solar energy project applications and 90 MW for wind energy installations, as well as Germany’s ABO, which applied for solar energy projects totaling 107 MW.

Other noteworthy applications were forwarded by Maximus Terra (106 MW, solar), SPDGR (95 MW, solar), Iliothema (70 MW, solar) and Erimia (114 MW, wind).

 

 

RES applications continue at steady rate, 2.5 GW in June

Production license applications concerning new RES projects have continued at a steady rate, while the balance between various technologies has remained unchanged, industry figures for June have shown.

Solar energy production license applications, numbering 126 of the overall 215 submitted in June, continued to hold the lion’s share and represented 2.1 GW of the 2.5 GW total.

As for wind energy, license applications for 76 projects with a total capacity of 384.71 MW were submitted in June. A total of 12 small-scale hydropower applications were made for a capacity of 10.03 MW. One cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), application representing a capacity of 2 MW was made.

A total of 14 companies submitted multiple applications representing 119 projects with a capacity of 1,757.5 MW, of which 196.9 concern wind energy stations.

The 14 multiple applicants were: Juwi Hellas, New Solar Developments, Hellenic Petroleum Renewable Energy Sources, Egnatia Group, European Solar Farms Greece, Thessaloniki Energy Solar, Serres Power, Verde, Terna Energy, Siemens Gamesa, ABO Wind Hellas, Rensol Energy PV, Karatzis and Peloponnisiakos Anemos.

Applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, between December, 2018 and June represent a total capacity of 8 GW. They number over 1,000, placing pressure on the processing demands at RAE, authority official Dionysis Papahristou noted.

Upcoming mixed RES auction applications submitted today

Procedures leading to the country’s first mixed RES auction, to place the sector’s main players, wind and solar energy investors, in the same bidding arena with equal terms for intensified competition, begin today with the submission of online applications.

These will be followed by the submission of dossiers containing all required documents ahead of the auction, expected on April 15, according to an announcement made by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

A total of 600 MW will be offered to auction participants. Amounts requested in applications will need to exceed this 600-MW total by 40 percent if the entire amount is to be offered at the upcoming auction.

Terna Energy, Mytilineos, PPC, the Panagakos group, as well as major foreign players such as Total Eren, Juwi, EDF and ENEL are among the firms likely to participate.

Mixed RES auctions have become standard practice in other European markets, the objective being to secure optimal solutions for coverage of energy needs at the lowest possible cost.

 

PPC fate in hands of Brussels, hydropower units addition a fear

The main power utility PPC’s future corporate make-up, following the apparent debacle of its bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units, now lies in the hands of the European Commission, whose intentions are soon expected.

Even if the Mytilineos group does submit an improved follow-up offer today, as has been requested, for PPC’s Meliti facility in Florina, northern Greece, and the unit is sold, the country’s commitments to the European Commission will not have been fulfilled.

Two units of PPC’s Megalopoli facility failed to attract investors, meaning the sale’s objective of reducing PPC’s lignite market share by 35.6 percent cannot be attained.

The initial offer made by the Mytilineos group for Meliti is believed to be well under the price tag set by an independent evaluator for the facility.

Another offer made by Seven Energy and Terna, for Megalopoli, was apparently rejected for not meeting terms, while the sale’s third contender, a team comprised of the Copelouzos group and CHN Energy, ended up not submitting any offers.

The crucial question, as things have turned out, is whether Brussels will bring Greece’s hydropower units into the picture, as an addition to the lignite package.

The energy ministry is definitely worried about such a prospect and insists this remains a red-line issue for energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

Greece will be under considerable pressure should Brussels and the country’s other lender institutions decide to associate the lignite unit sale’s apparent debacle with Greece’s slow progress in opening up the retail electricity market to competition.

Data provided by the energy exchange for December showed PPC’s retail market share rose to 80.29 percent from 78.63 percent in a month. According to bailout terms on the matter, PPC’s market share at the end of 2018 was supposed to have dropped to 62.24 percent before reaching 49.24 percent by the end of 2019.

 

 

PPC units sale close to failure, call for improved sole valid offer

The main power utility PPC’s bailout-required sale of units at Meliti in Greece’s north and Megalopoli in the south could end up being half successful, at best, but a full debacle is considered most likely, the disclosure of binding bids submitted yesterday, the sale’s deadline day, has indicated.

Sale authorities have requested an improved bid from just one participant, the Mytilineos group, for its offer concerning the Meliti facility, while another offer made by Seven Energy and Terna for Megalopoli has apparently been rejected as it does not meet the tender’s terms, energypress has understood following a thorough cross-examination of incoming information.

According to one of Greece’s bailout commitments, based on a European Court verdict, the sale effort requires a disinvestment representing 40 percent of PPC’s lignite capacity. Meliti I and II and Megalopoli III and IV need to be sold if this disinvestment target is to be achieved.

PPC has suggested it will strive for an imminent follow-up sale in an effort to honor the European Court disinvestment decision. If this is permitted, problems that have made the current sale unattractive to investors will need to be resolved. The current composition of the Megalopoli package, in particular, is virtually unsellable, investors agree.

PPC remains determined to achieve decent sale prices for Meliti and Megalopoli, despite the fact that both facilities have been assessed as loss-incurring by investors. In recent comments, the power utility’s chief Manolis Panagiotakis noted that PPC is “selling not selling out.”

New wind turbine connections to grid rise by 7.2% in 2018

A total of 103 new wind turbine facilities with a combined capacity of 191.6 MW were connected to the country’s grid in 2018, a 7.2 percent year-on-year increase, the ELETAEN figures showed, according to latest data released by ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

EREN, the renewable energy group founded and headed by Greek-French entrepreneur Paris Mouratoglou, has emerged as a new entry in Greece’s top-five list of RES investors with investments offering a total capacity of 210.9 MW, a 7.5 percent market share.

EREN, which recently established a strategic agreement with Total, is now ranked fifth, replacing Enel Green Power, which has dropped to sixth place.

The top-five list’s four other enterprises held their places. Terna Energy leads with 536.1 MW, a 19 percent share; El. Tech Anemos is ranked second with 285.6 MW (10.1%), Iberdrola Rokas is third with 250.7 MW (8.9%); and EDF EN Hellas is placed fourth with 238.2 MW (8.4%)., according to the ELETAEN data.

CF Ventus, a venture of the Fortress Fund, has emerged as Greece’s new RES market arrival following its acquisition of wind energy parks from the Libra group. CF Ventus is continuing to invest in the sector.

Facilities at old wind energy parks with a total capacity of 15.43 MW operated by PPC Renewables, primarily in Crete and the North Aegean, were uninstalled in 2018.  Work on their replacements has already begun.

Vestas continued to dominate Greece’s wind turbine supply market, providing an impressive 78.2 percent of all turbines installed in 2018.

As for the spatial distribution of wind capacity in Greece, the central mainland continues to be ranked first with 907 MW (32%) and is followed by the Peloponnese with 550 MW (19%) and eastern Macedonia-Thrace with 375 MW (13%).

 

PPC, Terna in pumped-storage hydroelectricity project talks

The main power utility PPC is engaged in talks with Terna Energy for a possible partnership concerning the latter’s plan to develop pumped-storage hydroelectricity facilities in Amfilohia, western Greece, and the Cretan region Amari, PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis disclosed at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair while addressing the utility’s decision to make a decisive turn towards green energy.

The energy sector’s future lies in renewable energy incorporating storage systems, Panagiotakis supported.

“Crete and other areas have potential. We have begun talks with Terna and other firms for the development of such projects by also utilizing existing lakes, such as the artificial lake at the Amari area’s rivers, with wind turbines,” the PPC boss explained.

Pumped-storage hydroelectricity allows energy from intermittent sources, such as solar, wind and other renewables, or excess electricity from continuous base-load sources, including coal, to be saved for periods of higher demand.

Terna Energy plans to develop a 680-MW facility in Amfilohia and a 93-MW plant at Amari, Crete.

Ellaktor, Terna left in PPC Renewables geothermal tender

Two investment schemes, Helector SA, a member of the Ellaktor group, as well as a team comprised of Terna Energy and sister company Terna Aioliki Xerovouniou SA, have submitted binding second-round bids to an international tender staged by PPC Renewables for a strategic partner in the installation of power stations to utilize four geothermal fields.

The tender’s deadline for second-round offers expired on June 1. A total of six teams had expressed first-round interest.

Besides Helector and the Terna Energy-Terna Aioliki Xerovouniou team, Enel Green Power Hellas, France’s Storengy, KS Orka from Singapore, as well as Zorlu-Turboden, a Turkish-Italian joint venture, also participated in the first round.

PPC Renewables, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the main power utility PPC, is aiming for swift progress in its quest for a strategic partner and the establishment of a finalized partnership agreement as soon as possible.

PPC Renewables plans to establish a joint venture with its prospective strategic partner to develop geothermal power stations of at least 8 MW on Lesbos and 5 MW at each of the other locations.

PPC Renewables intends to soon launch exploratory drilling procedures at its own expense. These drilling endeavors are planned to run concurrently with the ongoing selection process for a strategic partner.

Officials at PPC Renewables believe the reluctance, if not outright opposition, of residents on some of the islands to the geothermal plan will subside once islanders are fully informed of technological advancements in the sector, preventing environmental impact. Locals reacted back in the 1980s against an initiative for the development of a geothermal field on Milos.

 

 

PPC announces lignite units tender a day ahead of schedule

The main power utility PPC has just announced an international tender offering a bailout-required sale package of lignite units one day ahead of tomorrow’s scheduled date.

Prospective investors will have until June 21 to submit official expressions of interest and June 11 to forward any queries concerning the overall sale procedure.

Power stations and mines representing 40 percent of PPC’s overall lignite capacity have been included in the sale package.

The preferred bidder is scheduled to be officially announced on October 17. Binding offers will need to be submitted by September 1. Then, PPC’s board is scheduled to meet on September 20 to endorse the sale and purchase agreement as well as a financial appraisal procedure.

On July 3, the PPC board plans to endorse prospective investors who express interest as well as the procedure leading to the submission of binding offers.

It remains to be seen who the participants will be and how much they will be willing to offer for PPC’s lignite units.

At present, three investment teams are expected to submit official expressions of interest. The Copelouzos group, joined by Chinese energy company Shenhua, is one of the three, Terna Energy is another, while the metals industry Viohalco, one of the country’s biggest energy consumers, is the other player seen as a certainty.

The aforementioned players could also establish partnerships between them of with other investors still out of the picture.

Whether these prospective investors will progress beyond the preliminary stage to submit binding bids is another story. This will largely depend on the variable costs of units, currently not known; lignite’s level of participation in the country’s energy mix; as well as other still-unspecified matters, such as the CAT eligibility of lignite units.

 

 

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.

 

Hydra expected to regain control of RES-lucrative Agios Georgios islet

A long-running dispute between the municipalities of the island Hydra and Lavrio, southeast of Athens, for the administrative jurisdiction of Agios Georgios, or San Giorgio, an uninhabited 4.3 km2 islet south of Sounio equipped with 23 wind energy turbines totaling 70 MW and installed and operated by Terna Energy, appears set to end in favor of Hydra.

Greek Interior Minister Panos Skourletis appears to have accepted a State Legal Council opinion recommending administrative jurisdiction of the islet for the municipality of Hydra, according to sources.

The Interior Ministry’s final decision on the islet’s administrative jurisdiction will determine which of the two municipalities will be entitled to receive RES-related payments worth half a million euros annually.

Historically, the islet was under Hydra’s control from 1834, when the newly founded modern Greek state’s admnistrative map was established. Control of Agios Georgios was transferred to the Lavrio municipality in 2011 by ELSTAT, the Hellenic Statistical Authority, following a census.

Unfinished, long-delayed Epirus hydropower project moving again

A decisive step appears to have been taken in a long-running and unfinished effort to develop a hydropower facility at Metsovitikos River in the Epirus area of northwestern Greece, a recent decision by main power utility PPC to endorse a tender awarding the project’s development to the Terna Energy Group has indicated.

The Metsovitikos River hydropower facility is planned to possess a 2X14.5 MW capacity. Terna Energy Group was named the winning bidder with an offer of approximately 14 million euros.

Work on an initial stage of this hydropower project, carried out by Mihaniki AE, began in the mid-90s and was completed in 2000.

Then, a second stage of the project was taken on by a three-member consortium comprised of Vioter, Edrasi Psallidas and Proodeftiki. This team managed to complete just 31 percent of stage two, until January, 2007. The project has since remained stagnant.

In December, 2014, PPC decided to nullify an intermediate tender, citing bank guarantee issues as the motive behind the decision.

PPC hopes the project will be completed within 28 months of the new agreement’s signing, as stated in the project’s terms.

Terna Energy signs PPP deal for Epirus solid waste treatment plant

The Terna Energy group has signed an agreement for a municipal solid waste treatment plant in Greece’s northwest Epirus region, based on a Public & Private Partnerships (PPP) scheme involving “Aeiforiki of Epirus”, a Terna Energy subsidiary, and the Epirus prefectural authority, the company announced.

The partnership agreement provides for the study, licensing, financing, construction, insurance, operation and maintenance of the waste management project for the next 25 years. The total duration of the agreement is 26.5 years and consists of an 18-month construction period as well as of a 25-year operation period. The investment is estimated to reach the amount of 52.6 million euros.

The fundamental axis of the investment plan concerns the management of conventional waste through the use of modern technologies aiming at absolute environmental protection in line with a financially viable strategy that will ensure long-term implementation and operation of the project.

Once launched, the project will be equipped to process 105,000 tons of waste annually through the Sewage Treatment Plan (STP), recycle at least 17,000 tons of appropriate materials and produce green energy with a capacity to satisfy the needs of 3,000 households, thereby offering CO2 emission savings measuring of 12,000 tons.

The project is expected to create 200 new jobs during the construction stage, 90 working positions during the 25-year operation period, as well as a large number of parallel jobs, including in the areas of transportation, trade and recycling management.

The operation of the new waste material processing unit promises to ensure the broader region’s compliance with existing EU regulations, strengthen environmental protection and lead to significant improvements in the quality of life and hygiene conditions for all citizens.

The project’s implementation will also offer both direct and indirect benefits in the fields of tourism, education and the new quality-based agricultural sector, representing a strategic objective for the entire country.

 

 

Green bonds, just arrived here, enjoying strong global growth

The overwhelming investor turnout for a climate bond issued by Terna Energy, Greece’s first environmental bond, has turned the domestic market’s attention to this financing tool, introduced to Greece for the first time with this Terna issue but already experiencing rapid growth on an international scale.

Green bonds were introduced as financial tools to support RES projects developed by governments and private-sector enterprises.

Indicative of the emphasis on climate bonds being placed elsewhere, China’s seven major regulatory authorities recently announced a series of common guidelines for the establishment of a “green” financial system, the objective being to transform the country’s economy into an eco-friendly economy.

Climate bonds emerged in 2007 and have since experienced rapid growth. Green bond issues are expected to reach a total of approximately 150 billion dollars this year, up from 81 billion dollars last year and 3 billion dollars in 2012.

The USA stands is the biggest issuer of climate bonds ($29.2bn, based on data until 2016), followed by India ($23.6bn), China ($19.5bn), France ($19.4bn), Germany ($12.5bn), Sweden ($6.1bn), Mexico ($2.6bn), Canada ($2.4bn), Japan ($1.8bn) and Australia ($1.67bn).

Euroasia Interconnector, Crete link association discussed

Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group are engaged in talks with Euroasia Interconector and IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, in an effort to co-develop Crete’s interconnection with the Greek mainland.

An effort is being made to associate the Cretan interconnection with the grander Euroasia Interconnector, an ambitious project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids. The Euroasia Interconnector has already been classified as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), enabling EU funding.

In March, Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group decided to merge two major wind farm projects planned for Crete so as to facilitate financing procedures stemming from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), commonly refered to as the “Juncker package”.

The two companies plan to co-develop wind farm projects with a total capacity of 950 MW in all four Cretan prefectures. Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group have also joined forces for the island’s interconnection with the mainland, a 320-kilometer submarine crossing whose development is planned to commence in 2019. This project’s budget is worth 2.4 billion euros.

Terna Energy company officials told a general shareholders’ meeting yesterday that the project’s licensing procedure is not easy as local authorities have raised objections, adding that the company is working on issues together with regional Cretan authorities.

On a visit to Israel earlier this month, Greece’s Digital Policy, Media and Telecommunications Minister Nikos Pappas proposed that the Euroasia Interconnector, to cover 1,519 kilometers, include a fiber optics connection between Israel and Greece.

An agreement between Greece’s main power utility PPC and China’s SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China) for the latter’s acquisition of a 24 percent stake in the power grid operator IPTO, a PPC subsidiary, is expected to provide further financial support for the Euroasia Interconnector. The prospect was discussed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his recent visit to China.

A consortium comprised of PPC and Quantum Energy, Israel’s Electric Corporation, is participating in the Euroasia Interconnector project, planned to have a 2,000-MW capacity and be installed at depths of as much as 2,000 meters. Its budget is estimated at 1.5 billion euros.

An EU-supported detailed preliminary study concerning the interconnection’s first stage, offering a 1,000-MW capacity, is planned to begin this June. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a key EU funding instrument supporting trans-European networks and infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy, will fund half the first stage’s cost, whose total is worth 29 million euros.

Terna Energy signs deal with CIP for RES investment in US

TERNA ENERGY, a member of the GEK TERNA Group, has signed a cooperation agreement with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) regarding a TERNA ENERGY investment plan for the US renewable energy (RES) market, the company announced in a statement released today.

The first phase of the agreement’s implementation concerns a 155.4 MW Fluvanna I wind farm currently being constructed by TERNA ENERGY in Scurry County, Texas. CIP will contribute $61 million to cover part of the development cost. The project’s total investment cost exceeds $250m. Goldman Sachs will also participate, contributing funds of up to $150 million during operation, while financing during construction will be covered by a group of banks, including HSBC, NordLB, Morgan Stanley and Rabobank.

Fluvanna I is being equipped with GAMESA wind turbines and is expected to commence commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2017.

TERNA ENERGY already operates a wind park with a capacity of 138 MW in Elmore County, Idaho, and is pursuing additional investments in the US renewables market. These include construction of another wind park (Fluvanna II, 130 MW). CIP has also expressed an interest to invest in its construction.

The total installed capacity of the TERNA ENERGY corporate group amounts to 738 MW. The group maintains installations of 468 MW in Greece, 138 MW in the US, 102 MW in Poland and 30 MW in Bulgaria.

The corporate group also maintains RES installations currently under construction or ready for construction with a capacity of 242 MW in Greece and abroad.

Overall, the company operates, is constructing or has full licensing of 980 MW of RES installations in Europe and America. The company is targeting to reach nearly 1,000 MW of RES projects over the next few years in countries where it is active.