Authority issues new wave of RES licenses for 27 projects, 491 MW

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has just issued 27 RES producer certificates for as many projects, taking the tally of this new certificate, part of the government’s RES licensing simplification process, to 33.

The authority issued a first wave of new producer certificates towards the end of last month.

The 27 new producer certificates, issued by RAE yesterday, concern eight wind energy parks offering a total capacity of 171.15 MW, 17 solar energy projects with a total capacity of 318.48 MW, and two small-scale hydropower projects offering 2.1 MW, their overall capacity being 491.73 MW.

Four photovoltaic facilities planned by Consortium Solar Power in central Greece’s Fthiotida and Larissa areas, totaling 284 MW, are standout projects in terms of scale.

Enel Green Power was also well presented in this licensing round with a total of six projects, all solar, three of these in Xanthi, northeastern Greece, totaling 7.07 MW, and one each in Rodopi (2.72 MW), Kozani (3.6 MW) and Ioannina (1.99 MW).

As for the two small-scale hydropower projects just issued licenses, one, offering a capacity of 1.54 MW, belongs to the Koryfi K2 Energiaki company, the other, 0.6 MW, to Hydroilektriki.

Germany’s ABO Wind dominates RES auction’s PV category

Germany’s ABO Wind was the most dominant bidder at Greece’s latest RES auction, earlier this week, securing approximately one third of the photovoltaic section’s total capacity for five 10-MW projects in Igoumenitsa, northwestern Greece, according to a PV-Magazine report.

The German energy group submitted the auction’s lowest bids, 0.04586, 0.04587 and 0.04883 euros per KWh.

Wind energy projects secured a far greater total capacity than photovoltaics at the auction, 481 MW compared to 142 MW. Also, photovoltaics registered new record-low tariff prices for the Greek market.

Heliotherma secured tariffs for two solar energy parks of 11.9 MW each in Thiva, northwest of Athens at prices of 0.053 euros per KWh. Metka secured tariffs for four projects representing a total capacity of 11 MW.

Other successful bidders included PPC Renewables, securing tariffs for an 11-MW solar park, part of a planned 50-MW complex, in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

The auction’s highest tariff price was 0.06245 euros per KWh, while the average was 0.04981 euros per KWh. A total of 39 projects secured tariffs at the auction.

Tariff prices for the auction’s wind energy section ranged from 0.05386 euros per KWh to 0.0577 euros per KWh.

RES auction prices down in both wind, solar categories

Wind-energy capacity bids at a RES auction staged this morning fell as low as 53.86 euros per MWh, while, in the photovoltaic category, bids dropped to a level of between 45 and 46 euros per MWh, sources informed.

Levels were lower than those registered at the most recent RES auction, last December.

A capacity of about 10 MW was left over for wind energy installations while the entire capacity on offer for photovoltaics was taken up.

Successful bidders included PPC Renewables, for an 11-MW solar energy facility, part of a 50-MW solar park in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

A total of 52 projects representing an overall capacity of 199.43 MW took part in Category 1, for solar energy projects of up to 20 MW. Investors behind these projects competed for 142.45 MW.

Category 2, for wind energy projects of up to 50 MW, drew 25 projects representing a total capacity of 748.37 MW. Investors competed for 481.45 MW.

At the most recent RE auction, last December, the average price for solar energy projects of up to 20 MW ranged between 65.99 euros per MWh and 53.82 euros per MWh, averaging 59.98 euros per MWh.

Prices, last December, for wind energy projects of up to 50 MW ranged between 61.94 euros per MWh and 55.77 euros per MWh, averaging 57.74 euros per MWh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New Peloponnese RES project applications deferred to 2021

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO have written off any possibility of accepting new RES connection applications in 2020 for new solar and wind energy projects, as well as other technologies, but application procedures could recommence in 2021, energypress has been informed.

Authorities face the challenging task of managing an enormous level of RES investment interest, especially for solar energy projects, before procedures for new-project applications can restart.

In the Peloponnese, where RES development has been held back by system saturation for seven years, a new IPTO study is still needed on the capacity to become available once two transmission networks, the west and east corridors, are completed.

Once IPTO has delivered this study, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, should lift its saturation-related ban on new RES projects in the Peloponnese and also set capacities available for each technology – wind, solar, small-scale hydropower, biomass-biogas.

However, IPTO’s delivery of the west and east corridors in the Peloponnese does not promise a complete solution as these lines, limited to 400-KV capacities, are well below capacities represented by the level of investment interest.

A fair and effective competitive procedure serving as a selection process will need to be established.

RES auction for Crete wind, solar installations at end of year

A RES auction to offer respective 100-MW capacities for new wind and solar energy installations on Crete is still quite a long way off and will, at best, be staged towards the end of this year or early in 2021, energypress sources have informed.

Crete’s network for wind and solar energy facilities is currently saturated, according to technical standards provided in an older decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

However, studies conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and power grid operator IPTO both support that RES station output of between 180 and 200 MW can be safely absorbed by the Cretan network once the island’s grid is interconnected with that of the Peloponnese.

The island’s overall capacity boost is expected to reach between 2,000 and 2,500 MW once the major-scale grid interconnection, linking Crete with Athens, is completed.

A RAE proposal forwarded to the energy ministry has called for wind and solar energy auctions offering respective installation capacities of 100 MW, the aim being to cover investment demand and also boost power capacity on the island, still using diesel and pressed hard to resolve energy-sufficiency issues in the summers.

PPC, Terna, Copelouzos resume talks for Crete RES partnership

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

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

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

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

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



Mixed RES auctions extension sought, ‘vital for grid stability’

The energy ministry is preparing to seek approval from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition for an extension of at least two years for current RES auction regulations enabling separate auctions for wind and solar unit installations, as well as mixed sessions.

The current format is valid until the end of this year. If the DG-Comp rejects the ministry’s bid, then Greece will only be permitted to stage mixed RES auctions, until 2024.

Officials at the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, agree that RES auctions for separate technologies have been particularly effective and fruitful and should be given more time.

Energy ministry officials are currently preparing Greece’s application with supporting arguments.

In its extension bid, the ministry will stress that both major-scale wind and solar energy installations are necessary for grid stability.

It will also note that the characteristics of Greece’s landscape offer solar projects a competitive advantage, meaning that staging mixed RES auctions, only, would result in solar-project dominance and little capacity for wind energy tariffs.

Also, the ministry, in its quest, will insist that grid stability requires the development of smaller RES units at various network points and close to consumption centers. This, it will contend, cannot be achieved through mixed auctions, typically dominated by large-scale projects.


Ministry examining delayed RES auction feasibility for July date

Energy ministry officials are examining a number of factors to determine whether the next RES auction for new wind and solar energy project installations can be held in July.

An original plan to stage this auction in June has already been ruled out. If a date in July is not feasible, then the session will need to be delayed until the year’s final quarter.

Ministry officials would rather avoid such a scenario as they do not want to give investors the impression of wider coronavirus-induced devastation in the sector.

A successful RES auction on April 2 was greeted by the energy ministry as a positive sign for the sector.

The number of mature projects ready to participate in the next auction is a key factor being examined at the ministry.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, wants 482 MW of wind energy projects and a further 482 MW for solar energy projects offered this year.

A second factor being considered at the ministry is whether RAE, currently understaffed, can administratively support an auction in July.

Also, the tenures of RAE’s head official, deputy and a board member expire on June 23. This could also complicate the authority’s ability to stage an auction in July.


Government working to promote major-scale RES projects

The government is working on upgrading the country’s legal framework for the RES sector in an effort to promote the development of major-scale projects, not just smaller wind and solar energy farms.

The need for a national RES strategy revision has been intensified by the prospect of major pandemic-induced damage to the tourism industry, the backbone of the Greek economy.

Big RES projects promise to attract foreign funds managing portfolios worth billions. An influx by such funds promises to create jobs, generate economic growth and help Greece reach its ambitious RES objectives set for 2030.

The government took an important first step yesterday by ratifying legislation to simplify the RES licensing procedure. But this is not enough. Ensuing steps in the overall procedure for RES investments also need to be simplified.

“We have begun and are working on proposals to simplify procedures for the next stages all the way to the installation permit. We are also moving forward with other issues to accelerate the RES sector’s penetration of the energy mix,” deputy energy minister Gerassimos Thomas recently told parliament.

Motor Oil, PPC Renewables in talks for major wind energy park

Talks between PPC Renewables and the Motor Oil Hellas group for joint development, installation and operation of an island-based wind energy farm with a capacity of approximately 100 MW have reached an advanced stage, sources have informed.

The project’s feasibility, however, will depend on the development of a grid interconnection with the mainland system.

PPC Renewables and Motor Oil are currently examining details concerning the prospective wind farm’s sustainability, interconnection and financing. Once they have reached conclusions, the two sides will decide on whether to proceed with the project.

PPC Renewables and Motor Oil have already joined forces to express first-round interest in a tender offering a stake in DEPA Trade, a new entity established by gas utility DEPA.

PPC Renewables has set as a strategic objective the formation of partnerships with domestic and foreign players for new projects not included in the existing portfolio of parent company PPC, the power utility. PPC Renewables intends to develop these new projects without involvement by PPC.

The company’s wind energy park plan with Motor Oil could serve as a base for more projects involving the two sides.

PPC Renewables has already planned a series of collaborations with foreign partners, including Germany’s RWE, UAE group Masdar Taaleri Generation  D.O.O. (MTG), as well as EDP Renoveis, a Portuguese company with a Chinese main shareholder. PPC Renewables is striving to have developed RES projects with a total capacity of 1.5 GW by 2024.

Motor Oil has made clear its plan to broaden its portfolio with emphasis on green energy. The refining group wants to establish a solid presence in the renewable energy market through acquisitions and partnerships.

Motor Oil has already completed two acquisitions, a wind-energy purchase from Stefaner and a solar energy project acquisition from Metka EGN, a member of the Mytilineos group.


Withholding tax cut for RES licenses bigger than planned

The energy ministry has responded favorably to a call by renewable energy producers, primarily wind energy farmers, for a reduction of withholding taxes concerning licenses issued in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

This tax cost will be reduced to one third of its regular amount – 1,000 euros per megawatt, annually – for licenses issued during the three-year period and will be payable over two installments, energypress sources have informed.

An amendment facilitating the tax revision will be attached to a draft bill covering various environmental matters, expected to be submitted to parliament either today or tomorrow, the sources added.

The revision promises an even greater tax reduction for RES licenses compared to a previous plan that had envisioned a 50 percent cut.

The government plans to abolish this withholding tax for RES licenses issued as of 2020 as part of a series of key changes aiming for investor-friendly simplification of the RES licensing procedure.

Energy ministry examining prospect of RES auction postponements

The energy ministry is examining current wind and solar energy market data to decide on whether to stage RES auctions for new project installation capacities in June or July, as was originally planned, or to postpone these sessions for the final quarter of the year.

The ministry would rather stick to the original plan as it wants to avoid creating an impression of a wider freeze by the coronavirus pandemic on plans.

A successful mixed RES auction on April 2 was heralded by the ministry as solid proof of a market still operating in proper fashion.

However, the extended lockdown has necessitated a reexamination of market data by ministry officials as project maturation in the RES sector has been impacted by the pandemic’s consequent conditions.

At the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, examination and processing procedures of investor applications for new connection terms have slowed down considerably.

The same goes for municipal authorities and other public agencies involved in the licensing process of new RES projects.

It is feared this overall slowdown could diminish the number of projects investors will be prepared to take to the RES auctions, staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

RES auction dates have been postponed in most other European countries in recent times.


IPTO island links over next 10 years to offer 2.6 GW capacity

Power grid operator IPTO’s interconnections planned for the next decade will prepare the ground for new island-based RES projects representing a total capacity of 2.6 GW.

The operator’s ten-year national electricity grid development plan for 2021 to 2030, forwarded to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for approval, offers major investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

Wind and solar energy farms operating on islands will be able to transmit their output to the mainland via underwater cables.

The IPTO ten-year plan offers a RES project installation capacity of 2,442 MW for Crete, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and the northeast Aegean islands. This capacity represents potential investments estimated at 2.6 billion euros.

The completion of all four phases of the Cyclades interconnections, scheduled for the second half of 2024, will offer 332 MW for this region. Andros and Tinos will have a RES installation capacity of 72 MW, the capacity for Syros, Paros, Mykonos and Naxos will total 160 MW, while Santorini, Folegandros, Milos and Serifos will be offered a 100-MW installation capacity.

The completion of Crete’s small-scale mainland interconnection to the Peloponnese, scheduled for the second half this year, will offer a RES installation capacity of 160 MW. A further 600 MW will be added once the island’s major-scale interconnection to Athens is completed in 2023, when Crete’s wind and solar energy capacity total of new and existing RES projects is expected to reach 1,080 MW.

The RES expansion capacity on the Dodecanese and northeast Aegean islands will reach 1,030 MW, according to the IPTO ten-year plan. Samos, Chios and Lesvos will be offered a 360-MW share of this total; Limnos, Kos, Rhodes and Karpathos will get 570 MW, while Skyros will be offered the remaining 100 MW.

The grid interconnections in the island regions will be developed over three phases to be respectively completed in 2027, 2028 and 2029, according to the IPTO plan.


RES auctions postponed throughout Europe

Governments throughout Europe are postponing RES auctions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on markets.

Germany, France and Ireland have already taken steps back to protect new RES projects, currently at various development stages, according to a Green Tech Media report.

Germany had planned seven RES auctions for this year. The country has so far offered 400 MW for solar energy projects and 675 MW for wind farms, while a further 2.9 GW for onshore wind farms and 1.4 GW for solar energy facilities remain pending. Strong investment interest had been expressed prior to the postponements.

In France, a RES auction for solar energy projects has been postponed by two months. In Ireland, a session that had been planned for April 2 has now been rescheduled for April 30. Portugal has also postponed a RES auction offering 700 MW for solar energy projects.

On the contrary, Dutch authorities intend to press ahead with a RES auction at the end of this month, offering 700 MW for wind farms. Swedish multinational power company Vattenfall’s Dutch subsidiary has announced it will not participate.




RES generation in EU captures record share of energy mix

Renewable energy generation captured a record-high 35 percent share of the EU’s energy mix in the fourth quarter of 2019, up from 31 percent a year earlier, primarily as a result of record generation levels registered by the hydropower and wind energy sectors, latest European Commission data has shown.

Hydropower production rose significantly, by over 16 TWh year to year, while major gains were achieved by the wind energy sector, whose onshore wind farms grew by 9 TWh, or 9 percent year to year, and offshore wind farms registered a record year-to-year increase of 3.3 TWh, 18 percent.

Overall RES generation in December totaled 105 TWh, a new record level for the month, as a result of favorable conditions for wind farms and record hydropower production levels.

On the contrary, the energy mix share of fossil fuel fell to 39 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, down from 42 percent a year earlier.

Greenhouse gas emissions in EU electricity generation fell by approximately 12 percent in 2019 as a result of the increase in RES production and a turn from coal to gas.

CO2 emission right costs increased by 57 percent year to year, to 25 euros per ton, according to the European Commission data.



Wind energy covered 32.6 pct of total energy demand in Greece on Monday, EWEA reports

Wind energy covered 32.6 pct of total energy demand on Monday, according to figures given by the European Union for Wind Energy (EWEA), of which ELETAEN is a member.

This places Greece second in the European rankings (after Romania with 35 pct and marginally above Denmark with 32.4 pct). The Greek performance is more than double the European average (16.1 pct) .

According to the relevant estimates, the good Greek performance was due, on the one hand, to the weather conditions on Monday, with strong winds prevailing in the country, as well as, on the other hand, to the relatively low demand that is always observed at this time of year.

Wind energy remained constant throughout the past 24 hours at 1.8-1.9 gigawatts and was four times that produced by lignite, which hovered at around 500 megawatts. The contribution of photovoltaics fluctuated at around 650 megawatts during sunny periods while natural gas-burning plants ranged from 680 megawatts to 3 gigawatts at peak hours (5-6 in the afternoon) when they were called to meet the highest demand of the day.


RES auction produces record-low bid, by PPC Renewables

A mixed RES auction staged yesterday by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, produced a record-low bid of 49.11 euros per MWh, submitted by PPC Renewables for a 200-MW solar park in Kozani, northern Greece.

A total of five major RES projects – four solar farms and one wind energy farm – secured tariffs at the session.

The auction’s average bidding price was 51.59 euros per MWh, far lower than previous levels.

The session’s only wind energy project, ENTEKA’s 153-MW facility in Vermio, northern Greece, struck a record low price, for the wind-energy category, of 54.7 euros per MWh. This project involves funding from US fund Quantum Energy Partners.

A 70-MW solar park project on EREN’s portfolio secured a price of 50.68 euros per MWh. A 42-MW park by EDF emerged from the session with a price of 50.87 euros per MWh. Also, Spes Solaris, a member of the Panagakos corporate group, secured a price of 54.82 euros per MWh for a 37.94-MW solar park project.

Four projects – two solar and two wind – failed to secure prices. ENTEKA missed out with two wind farm projects measuring 72 MW and 63 MW. A 50-MW solar park by PPC Renewables and a 23-MW solar park by EDF also missed out.


RES investors, hit by coronavirus crisis, want project deadline extensions

RES investors who secured projects at auctions in 2019 and are committed to linking new facilities to the grid over the next 6 to 18 months have requested deadline extensions of at least 6 to 12 months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s unforeseen and widespread repercussions.

Under the current conditions, investors will not be able to install solar and wind energy facilities on time and, consequently, face potential damages worth hundreds of millions of euros, market officials told energypress.

RES system suppliers and project contractors worldwide are overwhelmed by the extraordinary conditions and have no way of meeting delivery schedules, the pundits added.

Besides posing a serious threat of catastrophic proportions for RES producers, the coronavirus crisis also threatens to deprive the national economy of vital energy sector investments worth hundreds of millions of euros. This could prompt thousands of job losses and closures of many companies in Greece’s construction and energy sectors.

Without a doubt, the government’s ambitious green energy goals are now severely threatened. International investors could ultimately interpret RES project shortcomings as negative news regarding the country’s investment prospects, at a crucial time in the effort for economic recovery.


HWEA: COVID-19 crisis issues for wind sector still manageable

Wind energy companies in Greece are making every effort – within their responsibility – to respond effectively to the current critical period, closely monitoring and applying the announcements of the government and the experts to limit travels and contacts, targeting to protect the health of workers and citizens and -at the same time- to secure high availability of their facilities, HWEA/ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association, has noted in a statement.

The association’s full statement follows: 

The COVID-19 crisis has already brought problems which -up to now and in most of the cases – are manageable. The problems relate to four categories of projects:
1. Wind farms under development / licensing
2. Wind farms with an installation permit that have not been started
3. Wind farms under construction
4. Operating wind farms
One of the few areas that has not been affected is the expected joint RES auction of 2.4.2020. The auction is electronic, and any document -required in physical form- has already been submitted (e.g. participation letters of guarantee). The problems and the potential risks for the projects are the following:
1. Wind farms under development / licensing
Delays in the licensing due to the absence of some staff of the competent authorities.
This affects mature investments that require modifications to their permits, including projects selected through auctions and projects that have been awarded binding grid connection offers.
Potential delays in the issuance of the bank guarantees which are required for the acceptance by the developers of a binding grid connection offer.
2. Wind parks with an installation permit that have not been started
A few weeks of delays in the delivery schedule of equipment are already evident. That delay is not long, but there are cases of projects with marginal time-schedules that may already be critical to maintaining an approved Reference Value (RV). This risk mainly concerns projects whose RV has been defined administratively but, potentially, projects selected through auctions as well.

3. Wind farms under construction
These projects appear to have immediate problems. Specifically:

The priority is, of course, the health of the workers on sites, which results in reduced construction rates.
Problem is caused by the special quarantine regime already imposed by the government on the islands and may be imposed in other areas if needed. A specific regulation that would allow workers to move is under preparation. This may be a solution whose effectiveness should be proven in practice.
The hotels closure seems more important due to the problems it creates for the accommodation of the workers and on-site staff. According to the relevant government’s decision only one hotel should remain open per prefecture.
Even more difficult is the problem posed by the need for foreign workers to supervise and coordinate the installation and commissioning of the wind turbines by the supplier. So far, that problem, where it has emerged, has been temporarily addressed by the arrival of staff from countries that did not have a major COVID-19 problem. The situation is exacerbated by the quarantine of those arriving from abroad.
4. Operating wind farms
As noted, our member companies make every effort to keep their wind farms available. This is important for the security of energy supply in Greece. On Friday 29.3.2020 our wind farms injected 21.6 GWh into the system, covering 21% of the electricity in the country. On Monday, March 16, 2020, wind generation was 42.5 GWh, covering 32.1%.
Based on the picture to date, there are not insurmountable problems with spare parts availability. Nevertheless:
There are problems with the mobility and residence of the workers as mentioned above.
Problems may arise in the event of a major fault requiring replacement of a main component in the presence of foreign workers from the supplier, who have provided the associated guarantees.
There are cases of projects that have completed the construction and need to issue the Operation License. We expect delays due to non-response to requests by the administration and unavailability of public officials for on-site autopsy etc. Based on all the above HWEA has proposed appropriate legislation extending, if necessary, several deadlines for the licensing and the construction of the investments, as follows:
1. Extension of Installation Licenses and binding Grid Connection Offers (for at least 6 months)
2. The deadline for maintaining the Reference Value by projects which were not obliged to participate in an auction, to be postponed to 1.9.2021 (from 1.1.2021).

3. The deadline for maintaining the Reference Value by projects selected through auction, to be extended (at least for 6 months).
4. The deadline of the last subparagraph of article 3 par. 12 of Law 4414/2016 to be extended by 6 months.
5. The deadline for acceptance of a binding Grid Connection Offer and submission of the required bank guarantee to be extended (for at least 2 months). Especially this extension we think should be given immediately.

Special RES Account

In addition to the above problems, the COVID-19 crisis poses a risk to the market’s liquidity. Care should be taken that any relief measures for consumers or suppliers are not unfairly burden the Special RES Account. The risk for the Account is increased due to the decline in the wholesale marginal price and the ETS price. Referring to the week -15/3, the weekly average marginal price of electricity moved downwards to a 102-week low 43.02 €/MWh, having declined by 6.21% compared to last week. The electricity price decrease can be attributed primarily to lower weekly electricity demand as result of the coronavirus epidemic, which plummeted to 853.87 GWh (-2.74% or -24.04 GWh w-w) and to lower regional electricity prices.

ELETAEN: Environmental legislation in the right direction

Τhe provisions of the draft law “Modernization of the Environmental Legislation” announced by the Ministry of Environment & Energy are in the right direction. Their proper implementation can achieve the golden balance between effective environmental protection and economic development. However, improvements are needed to some critical aspects. This is the message of the detailed memorandum submitted by the Hellenic Wind Energy Association ELETAEN to
the Minister of Environment & Energy.

ELETAEN believes that the draft law will form a better new overall framework for renewables, if combined with the forthcoming, much-needed, interventions in the remaining licensing process. Adoption of ELETAEN’s proposals is also needed.

The fundamental principle of ELETAEN’s proposals is to establish a genuine relationship between the State and the Businesses based on transparent rules and mutual commitments.

The draft law is taking steps towards this direction as it involves simplifications in the licensing of RES and introduces clear deadlines for the Administration at certain stages of the environmental licensing process. It also includes provisions on how investments will not freeze.

However, it is important to extend this approach to all relevant provisions of the draft law, including the procedures for modifying issued environmental licenses and the procedures for issuance of the opinions by the archaeological councils.

It is even more important not to provide an automatic cancellation of the production license (the Certificate 1) of a RES investment, if it has not been matured enough within the time limit set by the draft law due to the Administration’s delays. Moreover, there should not be any burden on RES companies by paying the maintenance license fee (for 2017-2019) if they have already been committed for huge amounts through letters of guarantee or they are developing special projects (e.g. wind projects with underwater cables).

Regarding the protected areas, ELETAEN considers their new management system to be more effective.

However, a more integrated approach is needed for the elaboration and the approval of the Special Environmental Studies (SES) for the protected areas, so that these will ensure environmental, economic and social balance in the context of sustainable development.

To achieve this, the draft law should foresee that (i) these Studies should be accompanied by an impact assessment of the proposed measures on the climate, the development and the society and (ii) their approval will involve the other competent directorates i.e. the ones for spatial planning, energy and forestry.

The draft law should not delete the provision that, after an environmental impact assessment, RES can be installed in areas that are not strict nature reserved, nature reserved, RAMSAR nor priority habitats. Otherwise, the proposed amendments may be interpreted as a political retreat to pseudo-environmental populism or as undermining the national climate policy.

Wind farms – and RES in general – are environmentally friendly investments as they contribute to tackling climate change. A specific application for such an investment can only be rejected if it is
substantiated by factual scientific evidence and specific analysis – and not general declaration – that it will cause irreversible significant damage to a high value protected object which cannot be remedied by other measures.

It is noted that in its letter addressed to the Minister, ELETAEN makes a special reference to the  crucial situation for our country due to the COVID-19 crisis. ELETAEN assures the Minister that the wind sector and wind energy companies in Greece are closely following the announcements of the Government and they are adopting them targeting to protect the health of the employees and the  citizens and to ensure the high availability of their power plants.

1 This is the name of the new Production License which will be issued with the simplified criteria of the draft law

Note: The main proposals of ELETAEN included in its letter to the Minister are attached. 


1. The new deadlines for environmental licensing procedure and the new 15-year duration of the EIA approval should apply on the pending procedures and the existing EIA approvals as well.

2. Must not be required the submission of whole new EIA Study for the modification of an existing EIA approval when the modifications in the project design reduces the impact on the environment (Article 4) eg. when the number of wind turbines decreases by increasing their geometrical characteristics within the licensed polygon.

3. In Article 46 of the draft law, the provision of Article 19 (8) of Law 1650/1 1986 must remain. According to that clause it is possible to install RES in Natura areas following EIA and Special Ecological Assessment.

4. The RES installations should not be horizontally and selectively prohibited (as provided in Article 46) by the “Habitats and species protection Zones” or the “Zones of sustainable natural resource management”.

5. The Special Environmental Studies should include impact assessment of the proposed measures on climate policy and development. The approval of the Special Environmental Studies should be done with the involvement of the Spatial Planning, the Energy and the Forestry Directorates of the Ministry (Article 47 (2) and (4)).

6. The Minister should not be able to lay down transitional protection measures for an area without Presidential Decree if he has not previously approved the relevant Special Environmental Study (Article 47 (6)).

7. The validity of a Certificate (i.e. production license) should not be terminated if the Administration violates its own deadlines and therefore the investor misses the deadline set by Article 12.

8. The procedures for modifying Certificates should be more flexible, e.g permit licenses merger or capacity transfer between existing licenses (Article 11 (13)).

9. The License Maintenance Fee (Article 21) should be further reduced and not burden (i) projects that have already submitted a Letter of Guarantee and (ii) special projects.

10. The restrictions for the polygons (Article 13) should be adapted and do not apply on existing licenses nor modifying requests of new or existing licenses.

Big RES projects on islands to be given IPTO cable access

Investors behind major-scale RES project plans for non-interconnected islands and island complexes, previously granted licenses incorporating the installation of cable interconnections, will now be able to develop their renewable energy facilities and reserve capacities through interconnection infrastructure developed by power grid operator IPTO.

The energy ministry intends to attach a related amendment to a draft bill concerning environmental permits.

Licenses granted to investors in the past for major-scale wind energy farms on non-interconnected islands and island complexes expected investors to install related cable infrastructure for energy distribution.

Such licenses have been granted to the Copelouzos group and Terna for projects on Crete and Iberdrola Rokas for investment plans in the North Aegean.

The new legal framework being prepared by the ministry promises to offer investors greater flexibility as development of interconnection infrastructure will no longer be set as a condition for related RES project licenses.

Instead, investors will be able to reserve capacities through cable interconnections being developed by IPTO. However, investors will need to contribute to the cost of this infrastructure in accordance with their reserved share of the overall capacity.

Reference prices for auction-free RES categories lowered

The energy ministry is set to sign a decision adjusting downwards reference prices for renewable energy stations not obliged to participate in competitive procedures.

This category includes small-scale hydropower stations, biomass, biogas and geothermal stations, wind energy facilities under 3 MW (6 MW for energy communities), as well as yet-to-be-launched wind energy facilities over 3 MW for which agreements were signed in 2016.

The new reference prices will apply for projects scheduled for launch and actual price settings following January 1, 2022.

Existing reference prices are based on legislation passed in 2016 and have not been adjusted since, except for wind energy facilities, which were subject to a price reduction following a related decision last year.

The forthcoming ministerial decision will seek to rationalize RES prices compensating the aforementioned RES categories, which, as a result of unique factors, are not required to participate in competitive procedures, as is the case for bigger wind energy projects as well as solar energy projects.

Wind energy investors concerned about RES licensing revision aspects

An energy ministry draft bill for the simplification of RES licensing procedures, now undergoing public consultation, has been generally well received, but wind energy project investors have pointed out some concerns.

These include a deadline automatically terminating licenses. Once investors have obtained producer certificates – through a swift online process planned to replace production licenses – they will have three years to obtain and accept finalized connection offers. This three-year deadline period begins ticking as of June 1, 2020 for existing licenses.

A retention fee will be limited to 50 percent of levels concerning 2017, 2018 and 2019. According to the draft bill, this term also applies for special projects such as interconnected wind energy facilities and hybrid projects combining RES output and storage, as well as projects for which letters of guarantee concerning connection terms have already been issued.

In addition, wind energy capacity measurements will not be needed unless projects are categorized as special-case projects, according to the new licensing regulations. This term, it is feared by critics, could prompt investors to occupy grid capacities without sufficient preparations.

RWE, to invest €1bn in Greek RES market, signing MoU today

German energy group RWE intends to invest approximately one billion euros in Greece’s renewable energy market over the next few years.

Details of the investment plan will be included in a Memorandum of Understanding expected to be signed today by the company heads of the German group and Greek power utility PPC at a Greek-German economic forum in Berlin.

RWE’s investment plan includes providing PPC expertise for its decarbonization effort. A prospective conversion of an existing PPC lignite-fired power station into a biomass facility, as well as joint investments in solar and wind energy projects with PPC subsidiary PPC Renewables are among the projects listed in the investment plan.

German renewable energy investment interest is focused on solar and wind energy projects. Other related technologies such as offshore wind facilities, as had been reported in the past, are not being considered.

RWE chief executive Rolf Martin Schmitz had informed Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the German energy group’s interest to invest and provide knowhow at a meeting in Germany last October.

Between 2012 and 2018, RWE reduced its CO2 emissions by 60 million tons, a 30 percent reduction. The group, looking to be fossil fuel-free by 2040, will focus on further development in the RES and energy storage domains, an investment effort estimated at 1.5 billion euros. Germany has pledged to be carbon-free by 2038.

RAE renews call for ministry’s help on Crete sufficiency plan

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has reiterated a request for energy ministry support needed for the execution of a plan that is expected to resolve energy sufficiency concerns on Crete until the island’s major-scale interconnection with Athens is completed.

The authority, which has resent a package of Crete-sufficiency proposals to the energy ministry, is essentially seeking permission from the ministry to recruit consultants so that it can proceed with necessary tenders.

The RAE plan, comprised of four basic actions, is based on a related study conducted by the National Technical University of Athens. Besides ensuring energy sufficiency for the island, the proposals also meet environmental standards.

The conversion of a diesel-fueled power station into a 100-MW natural gas-fueled facility is one of the four RAE proposals.

Another entails the installation of a new 100-MW power station, preferably natural gas-fueled.

A third action involves a RES capacity addition of roughly 200 MW, evenly split between wind and solar facilities.

RAE’s fourth proposal concerns the installation – and introduction to the Greek grid – of energy storage systems, or high-tech batteries, representing a capacity of between 30 and 40 MW.

The first and second proposals depend on LNG supply to Crete. Subsequently, a tender will need to be staged for the installation of an FSRU as well as a 100-MW power station.

The additional RES capacity will also require tenders. In addition, RAE proposes a tender for the energy storage systems it envisions for the island.

These batteries could also be used on other Greek islands in the future if they are eventually no longer needed on Crete.


RES auction to offer 200 MW for Cretan wind, solar energy projects

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is preparing to stage a RES auction for new renewable energy facility installations on Crete in anticipation of the island’s grid capacity increase to result from new interconnections with the mainland.

The authority intends to offer 100 MW for wind energy facilities and a further 100 MW for solar energy projects, all at a starting price of 30 euros per MWh.

Crete is rated as an area of very high RES potential, especially for wind and solar projects. These favorable conditions support further renewable energy development at the lowest possible cost and minimum burden on consumers.

Crete’s energy security has developed into a major issue and national priority as a result of the implementation of strict EU carbon emission limits requiring the withdrawal of high-polluting units as of the end of 2020.


Combined RES auction to be dominated by solar energy projects

Solar energy projects are expected to dominate a combined RES auction planned for April 2 by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, reflecting heightened investment interest in the PV sector of late. The April session’s application deadline expires tomorrow.

The level of investor interest for solar projects had overshadowed that of wind projects at a recent inaugural combined auction.

The total capacity for solar energy project applications is expected to be big, especially if PPC Renewables submits an application for a 200-MW solar energy park plan in Kozani, northern Greece, as the firm had also done in the previous combined RES auction.

PPC Renewables is expected to submit an application for another of its project plans, a 50-MW solar energy plant in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

RES project investors will be offered a total of 600 MW at April’s combined RES auction following a 100-MW capacity increase granted by the energy ministry.

However, this 600-MW will only be offered in full if application capacities exceed the tally by 40 percent for a total of 840 MW.

The April auction’s starting price has been set at 61.32 euros per MWh.

A number of combined RES auctions have been staged in various parts of Europe over the past couple of years, the objective being to cover energy needs at the lowest possible price.

The cost of PV equipment has fallen sharply and is continuing to fall, enabling PV auction participants to bid more competitively.

However, license procedure bureaucracy remains a problem, especially for wind projects, slowing down maturity. Greek market investors are waiting for the government to deliver on a promise to simplify RES licensing procedures.




Country divided on RES pros and cons, ‘informed’ on PVs

The country is divided on the pros and cons of renewable energy sources while roughly one in three Greek residents feel only moderately informed on the RES sector, a nationwide study conducted by the Democritus University of Thrace between 2018 and 2019 has shown.

A 28.21 percent proportion of survey participants – the highest percentage for the question – admitted they were “not at all” familiar with wind generators, while 40.72 percent, the top score, stated they are “well enough” informed on photovoltaics in land properties.

Opinions were divided on a question asking if the installation of solar and wind energy facilities insult or destroy the aesthetics or natural beauty of buildings and/or the natural environment, 31.08 percent responding “rather no”, 21.33 percent opting for “maybe” and 15.67 percent choosing “rather yes” in the survey’s multiple-choice responses.

An overwhelming majority of respondents believe climate change is affecting life quality, 43.81 percent choosing “yes” and 31.96 percent opting for “rather yes”.

The survey, titled “A Panhellenic Social Survey (2018-19) regarding the Quality of Life, Energy Needs and Peoples’ Attitudes towards RES”, was recently presented at an IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science.