Greek onshore wind energy generation tops European output

Onshore wind energy generation in Greece yesterday was the biggest recorded in Europe, capturing a 55 percent share of the country’s energy mix, according to data provided by the WindEurope association on wind energy yields across the continent.

Greece was followed by Spain, where onshore wind energy production yesterday captured 49 percent of the country’s energy mix, and Portugal, whose wind-energy share was 35 percent.

The increased wind energy generation in Greece helped lower the country’s wholesale electricity price, at 58.44 euros per MWh today. The price level is below 10 euros per MWh for half the day, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, noted in an announcement.

This lower wholesale electricity price directly benefits consumers and the Greek economy, the association added.

EuroEnergy enters Croatia with €150m wind power project

Libra Group renewable energy subsidiary to acquire 114-megawatt Croatian wind farm development as a first investment in key renewable market and new Eurozone member.

January 19, 2023
Athens – Greece

EuroEnergy, a renewable energy subsidiary of Libra Group with assets and operations in the European Union, has announced that it will acquire a 114-megawatt (MW) wind energy development in Udbina, Croatia. Representing a total investment of €150 million, the project will expand EuroEnergy’s European footprint to harness the potential of Croatia’s growing renewable energy sector. Significantly, the acquisition represents one of the country’s first clean energy investments since it became a member of the Eurozone in January 2023.

Located in the largest county in Croatia, Lika-Senj, in the municipality of Udbina, the project is expected to boost the local economy by establishing an office, hiring local personnel, and contracting local companies for the development, construction, and operation of the wind farm.

With an established presence in key markets, including Greece, Romania, and now Croatia, this acquisition will substantially increase EuroEnergy’s investment portfolio of solar parks and wind farms to an installed capacity of over 200 MW. In addition, the company has previously owned and managed 375 MW.

EuroEnergy is among the few private renewable energy platforms with extensive experience, an on-site presence, sizable operating assets, and a robust pipeline in emerging European markets. It is also committed to advancing innovative technologies to support operational excellence, most recently through deploying drone technology to inspect wind farms.

“We are proud to expand our portfolio into the Republic of Croatia, a market with enormous potential and a growing domestic renewable energy sector,” said EuroEnergy Chief Executive Officer Fanis Mermigkousis. “We are committed to ensuring the local communities are integrated throughout the process. Our work is helping ensure that Southern and Eastern Europe are part of the renewable energy transition, and we will continue to explore new geographies that advance the sector.”

The acquisition reserves the right to expand with an additional 70.5 MW of wind capacity, depending on electricity grid upgrades that can increase production. The broader growth of renewable energy in Europe, new upgrades to Croatian grid infrastructure, and a liberalized market with supportive legislation further advance this growth. The potential scalability of this project also supports the future incorporation of new, highly-innovative and green infrastructure solutions to Croatia.

“Our Group is dedicated to responsible innovation and growth, and we are proud to see EuroEnergy invest in Croatia’s energy future as it becomes part of the green transition,” said Antonis Menegas, Executive Vice President of Energy for Libra Group. “Across our global ecosystem, we are leveraging the insights of our network to build economies of scale. We look forward to following EuroEnergy’s progress as our Group continues to advance a pan-European renewable energy platform.”

Boris Katić, one of the three owners and original developer of this project, further commented, “We are pleased to welcome EuroEnergy and their team as a strong and experienced partner in the project. This wind project will provide a significant contribution to the sustainable development of this rural area by creating highly-skilled employment, improving the environment for local businesses and strengthening the regional road and power infrastructure. Located in the triangle between the three National Parks Plitvice, Paklenica and North Velebit, the wind farm is a crucial contributor to supporting and promoting the local communities in this remote region.”

About EuroEnergy

EuroEnergy is a renewable energy investment company with offices in London, Athens and Bucharest. Founded in Greece in 2007, EuroEnergy was established to increase the contribution of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) to the traditional energy mix in Europe and the Mediterranean countries. Over the years, its portfolio has grown to encompass solar PV and wind assets in Romania and Greece. With a focus now on solar and wind energy, EuroEnergy has grown its RES portfolio by acquiring solar PV operating assets and under-construction wind projects. EuroEnergy’s operating assets track record consists of close to 0.5 GW of wind, solar and biogas projects.

About Libra Group

Libra Group is a privately-owned, global business group that encompasses 30 operating entities: 20 businesses predominately focused on aviation, energy, maritime, real estate, hospitality, and diversified industries, and 10 social initiatives. With assets and operations in nearly 60 countries, the Group applies the strength of its global network and capabilities to deliver cross-sector insights and growth at scale, while mitigating risk. Today, Libra’s Social Responsibility Programs include 10 social initiatives created to address unmet needs and grantmaking that helps people worldwide. Throughout its 30 entities, the Group is focused on maintaining its innovative culture supporting human potential, and always delivering growth with good – twin engines that power the Libra ecosystem.

New NECP at Interministerial Committee on Monday

The revised National Energy and Climate Plan, a strategy of greater ambition aiming for 24 GW in wind and solar energy installations, 4 GW in hydropower and pumped-storage stations, as well as energy storage projects totaling 8 GW, all by 2030, is scheduled to be presented at the Interministerial Committee on Monday.

As a next step, the road map of the NECP, now completed according to energypress sources, will be officially announced by the energy ministry before undergoing consultation.

The RES sector’s share of the energy mix has been increased to 80 percent in the revised NECP, up from a 65 percent target set in the previous edition.

The existing NECP’s RES and hydropower target had been set at 19 GW. The revised version’s target has been boosted to 28 GW.

The RES installation target of 24 GW, it should be noted, includes offshore wind farms of 2 to 2.5 GW, indicating that the NECP is, for the first time, committing to the development of this new green energy technology.

Last year ended with operating wind and solar facilities of 10.2 GW, meaning installations representing a total capacity of 13.8 GW for the two RES technologies will need to be installed over the next eight years if the NECP’s 24-GW target is to be achieved.

December gas energy-mix share up to 43%, RES input falls

Natural gas usage for electricity generation increased in December to represent 43 percent of the energy mix, up from 37 percent in November.

At 43 percent, natural gas-fueled electricity captured the biggest share of the energy mix in December, followed by renewable energy sources – wind, solar and biomass – at 26 percent, lignite, at 17 percent, net electricity imports, at 10 percent, and major-scale hydropower plants, at 4 percent.

Combing the RES and hydropower contributions, the renewable energy sector’s share of the energy mix in December essentially reached 30 percent.

Natural gas-fueled generation and RES generation reached 1,645,055 MWh and 1,012,485 MWh, respectively, in December, while lignite-fired output for the month totaled 656,157 MWh.

In 2022, overall, natural gas’ share of the energy mix increased by one percent, while the RES sector’s share shrunk by 8 percent.

Energy demand increased in December, reaching 4,013,598 MWh, following four successive months of decline.

Reed Smith advises Alpha Bank on financing of 27-MW onshore wind project

ATHENS – Global law firm Reed Smith today announced that it has advised Alpha Bank, one of the Greek systemic banks, on an approx. €32 million non-recourse financing of a ready to build onshore wind power project developed by Anatoliko Askio –  Magoula Single Member S.A., a Greek subsidiary of Valorem.

Valorem is an international renewable energy developer and power producer active in France, French Antilles, Finland, Poland, Colombia and Greece.

The project is developed in Kozani region, and will have a total installed capacity of 27 MW, consisting of 6 (4.5 MW each) Vestas wind turbine generators. It is expected to come online by early 2024. The annual power production of the project is estimated at 71 GWh, covering the needs of approx. 18,000 households.

This is the very first renewable energy power project to be constructed by Valorem in Greece and one of the very few wind power projects to be installed at such a high altitude in the country (i.e. 1700 meters above sea level).

The team was led by Reed Smithʼs Global Corporate Group partner Dimitris Assimakis, with assistance from counsel Minas Kitsilis, senior associate George Fountas and associate Georgia Koui. French law advice was provided by partner Baptiste Gelpi, and English law advice was provided by partner Claude Brown and associate Moishe Kritzler.

Assimakis, who is based in Reed Smithʼs Athens office, commented: “We are very excited to have advised Alpha Bank in the very first wind power project developed by Valorem in Greece. It illustrates both Alpha Bankʼs continuous support in the transition of the Greek power sector and especially its strong commitment in the wind power sector, as well as Valoremʼs dynamic entry in the vibrant Greek renewable energy market.”

‘Energy storage installations can wait for lower prices’

The National Technical University of Athens’ professor Stavros Papathanasiou, also head of the energy ministry’s committee for energy storage, has proposed, in an interview with energypress, a rational and careful approach to Greece’s storage needs.

A RES energy-mix share of 80 percent by 2030 will require more pumped-storage projects, while decisions on the prospective installation of 900 to 1,000 MW in energy storage systems – a capacity to soon become available through auction procedures – can be left for later on, when price levels for this technology will have fallen significantly, the NTUA professor noted.

The professor also offered a detailed analysis on how storage investments should be remunerated when they provide congestion relief services to the system.

He also stressed the role of storage stations in combination with RES stations (behind the meter) is absolutely crucial, adding that investors behind existing photovoltaic and wind energy facilities should be given incentives to install batteries as a part of their investments.

The professor also noted it is necessary to reform the existing net metering system so that production and consumption of energy could be synchronized instead of having energy injected into the grid at times of congestion.

PPA contract prices driven lower by market imbalance

Power purchase agreements (PPAs) have fallen to levels of between 40 and 50 euros per MWh because of two key factors, firstly, the need of many RES project investors to establish bilateral contracts in order to upgrade their projects and meet priority-status standards set by power grid operator IPTO, and secondly, as a result of low absorption rates of production as large-scale consumers who could absorb big RES quantities have already made intra-group arrangements, a leading official at Aurora Energy Research has told energypress.

In addition, potential off-takers are limited and have low creditworthiness, the official noted.

“The supply and demand imbalance is putting downward pressure on PPA prices, resulting in PPAs trading at levels significantly below their value,” the official pointed out.

PPA contracts running from 2025 and 2035 in the Greek market should actually be worth between 60 and 90 euros per MWh for solar energy and between 70 and 100 euros per MWh for wind energy, the official noted.

 

PPA-linked RES project interest surges, favorable conditions

Investment interest in wind and solar energy projects planned to offer their output through power purchase agreements (PPAs) has grown sharply, as indicated by a large number of preliminary PPA agreements submitted by investors to power grid operator IPTO for entry into a priority-status category established through a ministerial decision.

A 1,500-MW limit that had been set by the ministerial decision for this category has been greatly exceeded, according to energypress sources. The energy ministry has already decided to elevate this limit, but it remains unclear if the bar will be raised sufficiently to fully cover the heightened level of investment interest being declared.

RES producers are turning to PPAs in greater numbers as a result of lower fixed tariffs being offered at RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, market officials have pointed out.

Another key factor behind this trend is the greater need for green power generation being expressed by suppliers, due to a wholesale cap, as well as industrial players, all of which is creating favorable PPA conditions offering RES producers higher fees.

A considerable amount of grid capacity for PPA-based RES projects is expected to be made available through the cancellation, by energy authorities, of RES projects that have held connection terms for quite some time but inexplicably remained stagnant.

RES applications for 17 GW in 2022, PV units dominant

A total of 17 GW in RES project applications have been submitted in 2022, adding to the accumulation of older applications, but the October cycle, which expired last Monday, was subdued, resulting in 179 applications for producer certificates representing 2,504 MW.

Solar energy projects represented the majority of applications submitted in the October cycle, numbering 61 in total for 1,559 MW. Wind energy project applications totaled 79, representing 733 MW, in the October cycle.

A recent trend, confirmed, once again, by the October cycle figures, has shown a preference by solar energy project investors for facilities with greater capacity, compared to the past, while, on the contrary, wind energy projects are becoming smaller.

The October cycle also included 33 applications for small-scale hydropower units totaling 19 MW, 5 applications for hybrid projects representing 191 MW, and 1 biomass application representing 1.5 MW.

Wind farms not earning windfall profits, association notes

Wind farms are not earning windfall profits as they are remunerated based on long-term fixed tariff agreements not influenced by wholesale electricity prices, which have skyrocketed as a result of soaring natural gas prices, ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has clarified.

A 90 percent windfall profits tax imposed on electricity producers essentially does not apply to wind farm producers as they have always been returning any amounts exceeding their long-term fixed tariffs for output they have agreed to, ELETAEN noted.

Wind farm investors have secured fixed tariffs for the output of their facilities through long-term contracts with DAPEEP, the RES market operator, the association noted.

Older wind farm investors have agreed to tariff prices, through administrative procedures, based on the cost of their projects at the time of their development, while newer wind farms have secured fixed tariffs through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, ELETAEN reminded.

As a result, wind farms are not benefiting from elevated energy market prices and are not earning windfall profits, ELETAEN underlined, adding remuneration prices in the sector are low.

The average price paid for wind energy production in Greece is approximately 94 euros per MWh, just 22 percent of the average price of electricity last month, the association pointed out.

 

 

 

 

Investor participation limited for first RES auction in 1½ yrs

Participation at an upcoming RES auction, the country’s first in one-and-a-half years, will be limited, despite the growing interest in green energy investments, a provisional list of auction participants just released by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has shown.

RES investors behind 34 projects with a total capacity of approximately 944.5 MW will seek to secure tariffs at the auction, scheduled for September 6. One application was rejected after failing to meet a guarantee payment deadline.

Given the auction’s rules, RES projects representing a total of 525 MW will secure tariffs at this September auction.

Its participation level is down approximately 50 percent compared to the previous RES auction, held in May, 2021, a session that was dominated by solar energy units.

Sector officials have named low starting bid levels set for solar and wind energy units as one of the factors behind the upcoming auction’s limited turnout, noting these levels do not reflect increased project costs, driven considerably higher by steep equipment price increases.

A starting bid level of 54 euros per MWh has been set for solar energy units, while the starting bid level for wind energy units is 63 euros per MWh. PV investors underlined investments cannot be sustainable at such levels.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

First offshore wind farm auction by 2025 for tariffs over 2 GW

A draft bill including a development and operation framework for offshore wind farms has been forwarded for consultation, now underway. The development paves the way for a first auction for the sector, expected by early 2025 and seen offering investors tariffs for a total capacity of more than 2 GW.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has set an objective for a launch of the country’s first offshore wind farms by 2030.

The number of offshore plots to be offered to investors at the first auction remains undetermined at this early stage. But authorities will strive to offer a sufficient number of offshore plots to ensure the achievement of Prime Minister’s objective of a 2-GW total installed capacity for the sector by 2030.

This capacity target could be boosted if National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) revisions require a greater number of wind energy capacity installations by the end of 2030, as part of the country’s effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Siemens Gamesa signs first contract with Intrakat for 36.4-MW wind farm in central Greece

Siemens Gamesa has signed a contract with construction company Intrakat for the first time, adding a new customer to its portfolio. It is a 36.4 MW agreement to supply 7 SG5.0-145 model turbines operating at 5.2MWs that will be installed in Viotia area, Greece.

The wind farm, called Karkaros, is scheduled to be commissioned during Autumn 2023. The contract with Intrakat also includes a full scope long-term service agreement for a period of 25 years.

The 36.4 MW of clean energy that the wind farm will produce will provide electricity to 30,000 households and it will help to avoid the emission of more than 92,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent to the emissions of more than 50,000 vehicles. To achieve this CO2 saving, 1.5 million trees would need to be planted.

With this agreement, Siemens Gamesa reaches a total of 992 MW installed or under construction in Greece. The service fleet will account now for 680 MW in the country including services provided to other OEM wind turbines. The installation of the Karkaros project will offer different challenges, like the use of blade lifters for transportation, a technology that Siemens Gamesa has already used in Greece and other countries too.

“The agreement signed with Intrakat strengthens our position in Greece and gets us very close now to the milestone of having 1 GW installed or under construction in the country. We are also happy we have been able to add a new customer to our portfolio; I’m sure this will be the first of many more agreements to come with Intrakat,” said Spyros Rozis, Managing Director of Siemens Gamesa in Greece.

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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

PPC seeking big-name offshore wind farm partnerships

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

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

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

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

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

Offshore wind farm financing support to follow framework

The energy ministry, pressing ahead to finalize the legal framework for offshore wind farms, is concurrently working on a plan to secure financial support for the country’s first wave of investments in this sector.

The financial support plan is intended to cover both fixed-bottom and floating wind farm projects, while prospective funds are anticipated from the REPowerEU initiative as well as the island decarbonization fund, energypress sources have informed.

Authorities are looking to include a fixed-bottom offshore wind farm project that has already secured production permits as a pilot project linked to the REPowerEU plan.

Fixed-bottom offshore wind farm projects have already been tried and tested abroad, meaning they do not represent a financing risk in terms of technology and feasibility.

On the contrary, floating offshore wind farms are a technology making its first steps, globally. Any investment uncertainty will need to be eliminated before financing for this technology can go ahead.

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.