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.

 

 

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.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

‘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.

Siemens Gamesa signs first contract with Ascent Power for 26-MW wind farm in Greece

Siemens Gamesa has signed a contract with Ascent Power for the first time, adding a new customer to its portfolio. It is a 26 MW agreement to supply 5 SG 5.2-145 model turbines, the first contract made by Siemens Gamesa in Greece with this model, that offers an extended nominal power of 5.2 MW, the most powerful Siemens Gamesa turbine in the country.

  • The company will supply 5 SG 5.2-145 turbines for a project in Sterea Ellada, with commissioning expected at the end of 2022
  • It is the first contract in Greece to feature this model with an extended nominal power of 5,2 MW, the most powerful Siemens Gamesa turbine in the country
  • It will supply enough clean energy to power more than 22,000 households and prevent the emission of nearly 70,000 tonnes of CO2
  • It includes a full scope long-term service agreement for a period of 22 years
  • Siemens Gamesa has close to 1 GW installed or under construction in Greece

The wind farm, called Vouno and located in Sterea Ellada, is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2022. The contract with Ascent Power also includes a full scope long-term service agreement for a period of 22 years.

The 26 MW of clean energy that the wind farm will produce will provide electricity to more than 22,000 households and it will help to avoid the emission of nearly 70,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent to the emissions of more than 40,000 vehicles. To achieve this CO2 saving, just over one million trees would need to be planted.

With this agreement, Siemens Gamesa reaches a total of 917 MW installed or under construction in Greece. The service fleet will account now for 614 MW in the country. The installation of the Vouno project will offer different challenges, like the use of blade lifters, a technology that Siemens Gamesa has already used in Greece and other countries.

“We are delighted to have reached this first agreement with Ascent Power, the first of many to come in Greece, and to install for the first time in Greece this very specific model, the most powerful Siemens Gamesa turbine in the country, with an extended nominal power of 5.2 MW, showing once more our capacity of adapt to the specific requirements of our customers”, said Spyros Rozis, Managing Director of Siemens Gamesa in Greece.

“This is an exciting milestone for Ascent Power and we are very pleased to have agreed with Siemens Gamesa for suppling WTGs and O&M services for the Vouno project. We are looking forward to a successful project and shall remain committed to a long-term partnership which will contribute to the efforts of Greece in achieving the ambitious energy and climate targets for 2030”, said Loukas Lazarakis, CEO of Ascent Power.

Greece offers one of the highest rates of expected renewable energy growth. The goal set by the government national quantitative targets are set for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, by 80% by 2040, with the ultimate goal of climate neutrality by 2050. New renewable energy auctions in Greece are among the measures that will play a key role in achieving the goal of increasing the share of RES by 70% in final energy consumption by 2030

About Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

Siemens Gamesa is a global leader in the wind power industry, with a strong presence in all facets of the business: offshore, onshore and services. The company’s advanced digital capabilities enable it to offer one of the broadest product portfolios in the sector as well as industry-leading service solutions, helping to make clean energy more affordable and reliable. With 110 GW installed worldwide, Siemens Gamesa manufactures, installs and maintains wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. The company’s orders backlog stands at €30.1 billion. The company is headquartered in Spain and listed on the Spanish stock exchange (trading on the Ibex-35 index).

 

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.

Wind, solar energy tariffs for 3 GW through new RES auctions

Approximately 3 GW of 4.2 GW in new RES projects to be remunerated through mixed RES auctions approved by the European Commission earlier this week will concern land-based wind and solar energy facilities, according to energypress sources.

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.

The ministry aims to offer tariffs for a total of 1 GW in wind and solar energy units in 2022, through mixed RES auctions, as was announced earlier in the week.

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

 

 

Mixed RES auction in March, tariffs for 600-MW total

Local energy authorities plan to officially announce, by the year’s end, a mixed RES auction under new terms just approved by the European Commission for an inaugural March session to offer tariffs to new land-based wind and solar energy facilities with a total capacity of 600 MW.

The new Brussels-approved terms will remain valid until 2025, the aim being to offer tariffs to RES and CCHP (combined cooling, heat and power) units totaling 4.2 GW over 20-year contracts.

It has yet to be specified how this capacity will be divided. The total cost of the remuneration plan is estimated at 2.27 billion euros.

The 600-MW capacity planned for the March session could be increased if officials deem that a sufficient number of new RES projects have reached maturity levels for tariffs.

A total of 1 GW in new RES projects are planned to receive tariffs in 2022, while, to facilitate proceedings, participants will lodge applications and supporting documents in a one-step process.

 

 

Colder weather a first test for European energy system

Falling temperatures in Europe, particularly at central and western regions, have increased electricity and natural gas demand for household heating needs, representing a crash test for the European energy system, interlinked and influencing market conditions from one country to another.

Wholesale electricity price levels have risen to record levels in France and Germany, currently experiencing sub-zero Celsius temperatures.

Besides the sudden drop in temperatures, windless conditions are depriving the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany of wind-based generation, down by at least 15 to 20 GW today, according to market data.

Subsequently, the energy mix of these countries and the EU as a whole has increased in cost as the mix is now dominated by natural gas, on a record-breaking price surge in recent months.

This has prompted wholesale electricity price increases throughout Europe. In Greece, day-ahead market prices for today are at 281.03 euros per MWh, a new record for the country following a rise for a fourth consecutive day.

German wholesale electricity prices have also struck a new record level today, reaching 273.89 euros per MWh, up 13.9 percent in a day. Dutch wholesale electricity prices rose 15.5 percent in a day to reach 254.01 euros per MWh. In France, the average wholesale electricity price for today is 295.82 euros per MWh. The highest price level in Europe was recorded in Serbia, reaching 310.63 euros per MWh.

Meteorologists have forecast a heavy winter. Greek officials are awaiting energy price levels for the rest of November before they decide on whether to increase current electricity subsidy levels.

 

 

 

Grid absorption limits for new RES stations to create space

The ministry is planning to impose dispatch limits on new RES units at areas with saturated networks so that an increased number of RES units can be connected to the grid.

Legislation for this ministry plan, still at an early stage, could eventually be attached to a second round of RES licensing simplification measures currently being worked on. This draft bill will also incorporate measures promoting energy storage and offshore wind farms.

A similar-minded measure had been implemented in 2013 for new wind energy facilities in saturated areas but the government now wants to expand its reach to all RES technologies.

These absorption limits are also planned to apply for RES units on non-interconnected islands.

 

 

 

 

 

New rules to ban wind turbines at tall mountains, small islands

The installation of wind energy facilities at tall mountains and small islands is expected to be banned by new government regulations to be included in the country’s new spatial planning framework for the RES sector.

Work on the revised spatial planning framework, to regard tall mountains and small islands as special cases, is still at an early stage and is not expected for another year, at best.

Specifications defining what constitutes a tall mountain or small island have yet to clarified at this early stage of the plan.

Last summer, during the country’s wildfires, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had noted wind turbines would be banned from tall mountains and small islands. These thoughts were reiterated at energypress’s recent Renewable & Storage Forum by former environment ministry deputy Dimitris Economou.

The government wants to establish the new RES spatial framework as soon as possible to provide clear-cut rules limiting the reaction of local communities to RES installations in various parts of the country.

 

Assessment of June cycle producer certificate bids by end of month

The assessment by RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, of RES production certificate applications submitted to the June cycle is progressing and should be completed by the end of September, energypress sources have informed.

Barring no complications, such as overlapping RES property issues, applicants should receive related emails by early October requesting payment of producer certificate fees to DAPEEP, the RES market operator. Successful applicants will be given 20 day-periods to pay this fee.

A total of 743 applications for RES units representing a total capacity of 17.4 GW were submitted to RAE for the June cycle, the authority has announced. Solar energy units, totaling 302 and representing 12.8 GW, were the cycle’s dominant RES technology, followed by wind energy units, reaching 290 in total for 4.2 GW.

Meanwhile, RAE is preparing to establish a 35,000-euro letter of guarantee as a prerequisite for applications, this measure’s objective being to limit applications to RES investors with serious intentions.

The authority launched a brief public consultation procedure on Friday. It concludes tomorrow, paving the way for the energy ministry’s draft bill for the letter of guarantee measure’s implementation.

 

New RES support framework, featuring changes, imminent

The energy ministry appears to have taken initiatives intended to increase capacity quantities offered at RES auctions and also retain national control over the determination of these quantities, depending on developments, given the more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the installation of a greater number of RES units, reflecting loftier EU goals, energypress sources have informed.

A draft detailing the new RES support framework for Greece has been finalized following talks between the energy ministry officials and European Commission officials and is now in the hands of the finance ministry’s Central State Aid Unit (KEMKE), responsible for the framework’s official implementation, expected in a few days.

Considerable changes have been made to an initial plan announced by former energy minister Kostis Hatzidakis, not only in terms of the number of auctions to be staged and capacities offered, but also in terms of its overall principles, sources noted.

The new framework makes no mention of an initial Greek proposal for six auctions, each offering 350 MW, for a total of 2.1 GW, but it does call for a capacity of at least 3 GW.

It also includes provisions for geographically based auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as special procedures for small-scale PVs.

In addition, the auctions will not need to be held by 2023 but will be extended until 2025, based on EU directives.

Through the new RES support framework, wind and solar farm energy investors will, through competitive procedures, secure feed-in tariffs for twenty-year periods.

 

 

Non-auction PV, wind unit exceptions over at end of ’22

A recent measure enabling small-scale PV installations of up to 500 KW without competitive procedures for tariffs, under the condition that applicants do not already possess two projects of such technology, has sparked renewed activity in the sector around the country with thousands mobilizing.

However, for a full picture, this development needs to be combined with the fact that the measure represents a temporary window of opportunity for small-scale producers that will slam shut at the end of 2022.

According to official policy, as of January 1, 2023, RES units will only be eligible for operational contracts with DAPEEP, the RES market operator, if they have participated in competitive procedures.

This essentially means that old 500-KW PVs, wind energy turbines of up to 3 MW and equivalent facilities of energy communities, plus new RES units will need to have established contracts with DAPEEP by the end of 2022.

Though this represents ample time from a technical perspective, investors typically face big delays for connection term offers from DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator. In most parts of the country, the operator’s examination of applications and eventual response takes several months.

Even more crucial for investors seeking to develop RES facilities without going to auction is the fact that the majority of DEDDIE/HEDNO responses are negative as network capacity availability is limited.

Applications for non-auction PVs will be submitted to an online platform planned to be developed by DEDDIE/HEDNO. First-come, first-served qualification criteria will be applied.

 

 

Consumption record expected, industry on switch-off standby

Electricity consumption today is expected to exceed yesterday’s level of 10,700 MWh, a ten-year high, and reach close to 11,000 MWh, which would represent an all-time high, as the prolonged heatwave peaks.

Industrial consumers are awaiting switch-off orders from power grid operator IPTO. Up until yesterday, they had yet to receive such instructions, but a number of industrial enterprises have already switched off voluntarily, while Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has urged consumers to exercise restraint in electricity consumption.

Authorities are placing their hopes for grid sufficiency in strong summer breezes forecast for Thursday that should cool temperatures and significantly boost generation through the country’s wind energy facilities.

Though still too early to judge, the grid appears to have stood up to the heatwave’s challenge so far. Minor technical issues and brief outages in various parts of the wider Athens area, Larissa, central Greece, and Agrinio, in the northwest, have been reported.

Authorities remain on edge as the resilience of a largely outdated grid remains uncertain amid daily consumption levels of 9,000 to 10,000 MWh for days on end.

Lignite-generated input is playing a crucial role. It covered between 16 and 18 percent of consumption yesterday. Power utility PPC’s lignite-fired Megalopoli III power station, which has been sidelined for months as part of the country’s decarbonization phase-out plan, operated most of the day yesterday.

 

RES capacity boosted, auctions to be extended until 2025

Greece’s new RES support mechanism, whose details are being finalized in talks between the energy ministry and European Commission officials, is expected to offer producers greater capacities, maintain the current system of 20-year tariffs for output through auctions, which will run until 2025, not 2023, as was originally planned.

The changes reflect the country’s revised and more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), aligned with loftier EU objectives for a greater number of RES installations.

The new auctions will be mixed, enabling the participation of both solar and wind energy producers, but wind energy producers will be entitled to at least 30 percent of capacity offered at each auction.

The country’s original RES auction plan, drafted by former energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, now holding the labor and social affairs portfolio, had proposed 6 RES auctions each offering 350 MW for a total of 2.1 GW, but this total is now expected to be raised to at least 3 GW.

RES tariffs remunerating output have fallen considerably at recent RES auctions, driven lower by the intensified competition.

Also, the plan appears likely to include special geographically based RES auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as provisions for small-scale PV installations.

 

Connection terms list topped by PPC Renewables, key projects

Power grid operator IPTO has released a list of pending finalized connection terms for RES and combined heat and power (CHP) projects, prioritizing strategic investments and RES projects planned for lignite-dependent areas being phased out as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

At the top of the list is an application for a 40-MW solar energy park project in Larissa, central Greece, listed under the strategic investments category.

It is followed by applications submitted by PPC Renewables for RES units planned in northern Greece’s west Macedonia area, until now a lignite-based local economy.

These applications submitted by PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, concern 19 projects promising a capacity of approximately 1.9 GW, planned for the provincial cities Kozani and Florina. They include a 550-MW solar energy park in lignite-dependent Ptolemaida.

Also on the list are a further 76 connection-term applications for RES projects representing a total capacity of approximately 2.5 GW.

Overall, the list includes 96 applications for projects totaling 4.5 GW. Of these, 92 are PV projects, 2 are wind-energy projects, one is a combined PV and wind energy project, while the remaining application is for a small-scale hydropower station.

 

Small wind turbine connection applications in early 2022

Local authorities are expected to have approved specific small-scale wind turbine models with capacities of up to 60 KW by the end of the year, paving the way for the market entry of endorsed models shortly afterwards, sector players anticipate.

Individuals interested in installing small-scale wind turbines are expected to be able to start lodging their connection-term applications to distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO by early 2022.

Specific small-scale wind turbine models will need to be certified by KAPE/CRES, Greece’s Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving as a condition for market entry. Many firms appear set to apply for KAPE/CRES certificates concerning various small-scale models.

The certification requirement for small-scale wind turbine models was included in a ministerial decision delivered last July, leading to the legislation of a licensing procedure covering installation and connection of such units.

The energy ministry has permitted a modest capacity for this RES technology. Individuals will be able to install small-scale wind turbine models for net metering, virtual net metering, as well as the sale of output to the network through fixed-tariff agreements whose price levels were determined by a ministerial decision in March, 2020.

This ministerial decision added small-scale wind turbines to RES unit categories for fixed tariff remuneration, at a price level of 157 euros per MWh for the technology.

This price level will be reduced by 3 euros for every 4 MW of small-scale wind turbines installed in Greece. Also, sale agreements will be suspended once this technology’s installed capacity has reached 20 MW.

RES investment interest high in June cycle, attracting 17 GW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Municipal solar parks to help low-income household energy needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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