Balancing market entry for RES, demand response by end of ’21

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is planning the balancing market entry of all energy sector players offering flexibility to the grid by the end of this year, a prospect seen as a key factor in lowering balancing market costs.

As a result, RES players, through green aggregators representing them, will participate in the balancing market by the end of 2021, along with the demand response mechanism.

The addition of RES producers promises to intensify competition in the balancing market, which, combined with the demand response mechanism’s participation, will contribute to a further de-escalation of balancing market surcharge costs.

Wind and solar energy farms will have a place in the balancing market. Other RES technologies, such as biogas units, are linked to operating aid contracts with fixed tariffs.

The demand response mechanism’s participation in the balancing market promises to enhance the system’s flexibility, in terms of demand, while the entry of RES producers will make electricity production even more flexible.

May RES auction applications total 128 for 1,092 MW, PVs dominant

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has confirmed previous reports of a strong turnout for its forthcoming RES auction in May, the number of applications reaching 128 for projects representing a total capacity of 1,092 MW, dominated by solar energy projects.

A minimum participation level set by RAE to ensure a competitive session was greatly exceeded.

The session, to offer tariffs for mature RES projects totaling a maximum of 350 MW, will help steer these plans towards swift development and also drive prices down as a result of bidding competition, to the benefit of consumers and the national economy, RAE noted in an announcement.

Approximately 70 percent of the RES auction applications submitted concern solar energy projects, the other 30 or so percent concerning wind energy projects.

The absence of quotas for the two RES technologies acted as a disincentive for wind energy investors, as bidding against solar energy investors will be difficult given the sharp drop in prices for PV equipment.

The overwhelming majority of wind energy applications, representing a total capacity of about 300 MW, concerns projects that failed to secure tariffs at the previous RES auction.

Solar energy applications, for major-scale projects between 10 and 20 MW, represent a much higher capacity total of approximately 700 MW.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections. The auction is scheduled to take place May 24.

PV units dominate applications for RES auction in May

Solar energy projects dominated the number of applications submitted by RES investors for participation in an upcoming May 24 auction to offer tariff prices for PV and wind energy facilities, sources have informed.

Wind farm project applications appear to have been greatly outnumbered. Also, the level of applications concerning wind farm projects that failed to ensure tariffs at a preceding auction was particularly low. This category of projects was automatically entitled to participate in the May auction, to be staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The application deadline for the May auction expired yesterday. An official announcement has yet to be released as a result of pending contractual issues between RAE and CosmoOne, the provider of digital platforms used for these auctions.

The May auction, the final session to be held under current rules, concerns solar energy projects up to 20 MW and wind farms up to 50 MW. Tariffs for a maximum capacity of 350 MW will be offered.

In accordance with rules designed to help make these auctions competitive, participants will need to represent a total of 700 MW if this 350-MW capacity is to be offered in its entirety.

According to sources, wind farm applicants appear to represent a total capacity of approximately 300 MW, while the total capacity sum for PV projects is expected to be far higher.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections.

 

Ellaktor adding €20.5m to RES portfolio for wind farms, PV units

Leading infrastructure group Ellaktor plans to inject a further 20.5 millions to its renewable energy portfolio through an anticipated 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase.

Ellaktor’s new administration is placing emphasis on the group’s financial rebound in the RES sector, chief executive Aris Xenofos (photo) told analysts during a virtual-conference presentation.

The 20.5 million-euro sum planned to be injected into the group’s RES portfolio will be used to accelerate a growth plan through wind farm acquisitions and investments in solar energy.

At present, Ellaktor possesses just one small solar farm in operation, a 2-MW facility in the central Peloponnese’s Arcadia region.

Ellaktor is Greece’s second biggest RES energy producer with a total installed capacity of 491 MW offered by 24 wind energy farms, a small-scale hydropower unit, and the aforementioned Arcadia PV facility.

The company, aiming to increase its total installed capacity to 579 MW by 2022, is currently developing a new 88.2-MW wind energy facility.

Ellaktor, according to the administration’s presentation to analysts, is also moving ahead with a one billion-euro agreement reached with Portugal’s EDPR for joint development of wind farms totaling 900 MW.

The Ellaktor group’s RES portfolio revenue rose to represent 9 percent of total turnover in the nine-month period of 2020, from 3 percent in 2018.

The listed group’s planned 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase will need to be approved at a general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for April 2. Responding to questions by analysts, Xenofos, the chief executive, noted he is confident shareholders will support the plan.

The group intends to use 100 million euros of the 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase to cover liquidity needs at its Aktor subsidiary, including 45 million euros for the company’s loss-incurring PV activity in Australia and 55 million euros to cover supplier costs.

 

 

National Energy completes acquisition of wind, solar portfolio

National Energy (NE) has completed the acquisition of C. 70MW of operational wind and solar assets in Greece from IBG Hellenic Fund III (HFIII), a private equity fund managed by Hellenic Capital Partners (HCP) for an undisclosed sum.

NE was launched two years ago to develop, construct, own and operate renewable power plants across Europe, starting from Greece.

It is understood that NE is actively looking for more opportunities to acquire operational wind and solar assets and currently has 161MW of additional solar PV assets under construction out of a portfolio of 270MW that has successfully participated in the auctions, and a development pipeline in the hundreds of MW.

George Lagios, Greek Country Manager of NE was pleased with the support NE received from HCP throughout the process. He pointed out that: “the acquisition comes with the added benefit of NE taking on an experienced development and engineering team which will further strengthen our firm’s positioning to operate as a full scale IPP, namely across the full value chain with capabilities from development, financing and construction to operations and asset management. This transaction is also testament of NE’s capability to pre-empt competitive processes and transact bilaterally in a transparent and reliable way”.

With the completion of this transaction with NE, HFIII has successfully divested the operating assets of its renewable energy portfolio. Having now liquidated most of its holdings, HFIII is heading for full divestment, being the 4th consecutive fund under HCP’s management to achieve significant returns for its investors.

Spiros Papadatos, CEO of HCP stated: “We would like to thank NE for their hard work and commitment towards closing this transaction. We also take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our investors, both institutional and private, for their cooperation and trust throughout our partnership. HFIII was the first Greek Private Equity Fund focusing purely on investments in the domestic renewable energy sector, capturing early its prospects. Today, there is a very strong demand for renewable assets, both by domestic and international investors, far exceeding the goals for renewable energy penetration set at national level”.

Akereos Capital acted as exclusive M&A and debt advisor to NE in the transaction while the debt package was provided by Piraeus Bank who were advised by Labadarios Law. KLC Law and Squire Patton Boggs advised NE while Seissoglou & Nikolaidis advised HCP. TUV Hellas were selected as technical advisors, Marsh & Co as insurance advisors and E&Y acted as financial and tax advisor to NE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RES producer certificate applications wave sustained

The increased wave of RES producer certificate applications submitted of late continued with February’s round, attracting 477 applications representing a total of 8.8 GW, energypress sources have informed. This latest round’s deadline expired on February 10.

Applications for solar energy projects were dominant, both numerically and in terms of capacity, totaling 226 applications and 6 GW, respectively.

A total of 167 applications representing 2.65 GW were submitted for wind energy projects.

The remainder of applications concerned a variety of other RES technologies such as small-scale hydropower plants, combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) facilities, as well as biogas-biomass units.

The supervising body, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is soon expected to begin processing applications submitted for the preceding December round and complete this procedure by late March or early April.

Successful applicants of the December round will then be requested to pay required fees for their producer certificates.

A total of 864 applications representing a capacity of 45.55 GW were lodged by prospective investors for the December round.

Wholesale prices in Greece well over European average in 3Q

Wholesale electricity prices in Greece during the third quarter of 2020 were three times over the €16/MWh European average, based on the Nord Pool power exchange, a European Commission report covering European electricity markets for this period has shown.

The report also traces the market’s 3Q rebound following a heavy slump in the preceding quarter.

Average prices rebounded at a slower pace in southeast Europe, compared to other regions, before reaching pre-pandemic levels in September as a result of weak demand and high production of wind energy and hydropower facilities, according to the Brussels report.

The average price in the third quarter rose by 43 percent, against 2Q, to €43/MWh, and was 30 percent lower, annually.

European price shifts in August moved in coordination, while the price gap between Greece and the European average narrowed significantly in 3Q as a result of the use of lignite-fired units and weak demand.

This gap vanished in September as a result of stronger wind energy output, which exceeded one TWh for the first time. As a result, prices in the region were between €46 and €47/MWh in September.

As for energy-mix developments, lignite-based production in Greece experienced a decreased share, captured by natural gas-fueled output.

In southeast Europe, the lignite-based output share contracted to 29 percent in 3Q from 35 percent in the equivalent period a year earlier; the gas-fueled sector’s production share rose to 20 percent from 18 percent; and the RES sector’s share of the energy mix increased to 34 percent from 30 percent.

Household electricity tariffs in Greece averaged €16.54/MWh (not including taxes and surcharges), while the country’s average for industrial tariffs was €10.62/MWh, the report showed.

Brussels RES tool to promote member-state collaboration

A financing mechanism adopted by the European Commission to financially support new RES projects and facilitate synergies, at financial and technical levels, between EU member states is moving closer to actualization.

Late in 2020, the European Commission established a related platform and invited EU member states to express interest in the mechanism either as hosts or contributors.

According to the mechanism’s plan, contributing member states will be able to invest in RES projects in other countries. This prospect will enable contributors to become involved in projects offering greater financial returns, compared to those of domestic projects, and also invest through RES technologies that cannot be implemented at home. For example, landlocked countries will be able to invest in offshore wind farms and countries with minimal sunshine will be able to invest in solar farms.

On the other hand, member states hosting projects linked to the new mechanism stand to benefit from improved energy supply and security, grid upgrades, investments and job creation.

Also, RES output generated by projects linked to the new mechanism is planned to be equally divided by participating states, contributing to their respective energy and climate targets.

The European Commission is currently examining the prospect of also opening up this initiative to private-sector firms. Brussels, gauging the level of investment interest, has invited private-sector companies to express their interest in the mechanism by February 15.

The private sector is playing a crucial role in successfully promoting RES projects in the EU, Brussels pointed out in a statement.

New minister, just appointed, has issues to resolve in 2021

Kostas Skrekas, just appointed new energy minister as part of the government’s cabinet reshuffle, in place of Costis Hatzidakis, who has headed the ministry for a constructive year and a half, faces a series of pending energy-sector matters that remained unresolved in 2020. They need to be addressed as soon as possible. Developments and conditions this year will be pivotal for these matters.

Skrekas was previously deputy minister for agricultural development and food.

Also in 2021, a year during which takeovers and mergers are seen occurring in the retail electricity and gas markets, rivals will continue battling for market share gains. The target model’s launch two months ago has brought about new conditions, strengthening the positions of vertically integrated suppliers.

The need for a normalization of the target model’s new markets stands as the energy ministry’s most pressing task at present. A sharp rise in wholesale electricity prices as a result of soaring balancing market costs has deeply unsettled the market, impacting the standings of non-vertically integrated suppliers, as well as industrial enterprises and consumers, who face rising bills.

Market coupling with Bulgaria’s day-ahead market, scheduled to take place within the first three months of the new year, is the next step of the target model, a procedure designed to harmonize EU energy markets and promote competition.

New energy-intensive industrial tariffs also need to be set soon. Though essentially a matter concerning state-controlled power utility PPC and Greece’s industrial players, the cost of industrial energy is crucial for Greek industry, carrying particular political and economic weight.

Also, Greece has little time left in its negotiations with Brussels for a framework to offer third parties access to PPC’s lignite-based generation. This issue is no longer as crucial as it once was because the country’s lignite output has been drastically reduced. Even so, it remains important for independent suppliers.

A number of energy-sector privatizations could be completed this year. Gas utility DEPA’s two new entities, DEPA Infrastructure and DEPA Commercial, electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, and a tender for a tender for the development of an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in northern Greece are all on this year’s privatization list.

In renewable energy, the ministry needs to take decisions within the first few months to clarify terms regulating the sector. RES investment interest is currently high. Steps still need to be taken in an ongoing effort to simplify RES licensing procedures, while a legal framework must be established for energy storage, offshore wind farms and hydrogen use.

 

Terms soon for last mixed RES auction to be staged under old framework

A ministerial decision on the terms, conditions and scheduling of one last mixed RES auction for solar and wind energy capacities to be held under the current legal framework is expected within the next few days.

A capacity of 350 MW will be offered to the auction’s participants early in 2021. It remains unclear if the capacity on offer will be evenly distributed for the solar and wind energy sectors.

Once the ministerial decision is delivered, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will officially announce the auction.

Investors will be given more time than usual to obtain supporting documents needed for auction participation as a result of the extraordinary lockdown-induced conditions, sources informed.

The session’s 350 MW to be offered represents the remaining capacity from auctions in 2020.

The energy ministry has submitted an application to the EU for an extension of competitive procedures concerning RES projects until 2024.

The new auction model is expected to incorporate improvements based on increased competition through more active target model participation and price reductions benefiting consumers, while also ensuring a clear-cut framework for RES producers.

Siemens Gamesa turbine, boosting low-wind site output, ideal for Greece

Siemens Gamesa, a global leader in the wind power industry, has added a new turbine to its 4.X platform, the SG 4.7-155, combining the company’s expertise and track-record in the 4 MW segment with a 155-meter rotor and state of the art blades to significantly increase energy production at low-wind sites, the company has announced in a statement.

The SG 4.7-155 features make it a perfect fit for Greece, the statement noted, as the new turbine has a nominal power rating of 4.7 MW and is equipped with OptimaFlex technology, enabling it to operate between 4 MW and 5 MW depending on site conditions. The platform will be enhanced by one of the two rotors developed for the more powerful Siemens Gamesa 5.X platform, representing an important step forward in the company’s strategy to adopt the best technology across all its platforms.

The development of low wind turbines is especially important for already well-developed onshore wind markets, like Greece, where the space for higher wind sites is limited. By increasing the size of the rotors, wind turbines are therefore capable of providing a successful business case to produce higher clean energy production even with lower wind conditions.

The model will use a 76-meter blade made of fiberglass reinforced with pultrude carbon, integrating innovative aerodynamics to guarantee the best balance between high energy production and reduced noise emission levels.

Indeed, the Annual Energy Production in average low wind conditions is 5% higher than that of the SG 5.0-145. The turbine also has a low noise output of 105 decibels, making it suitable for countries with strict noise restrictions. In addition to these functionalities, the lifetime of the new turbine has been increased to 25 years from 20 years at IEC-Class 3 sites.

A prototype of the new model is expected to be ready by mid-2021, with the start of production planned for the end of 2021.

“The new model will make us much more competitive in Greece, complementing our SG 5.8-170 to offer our customers broader options depending on their project characteristics and needs. This type of modular approach using the best of our onshore innovation will help us lower the cost of energy for them and offer the best solutions for the energy transition,” said Siemens Gamesa managing director in Greece Spyros Rozis.

Siemens Gamesa maintains a strong presence in all facets of the wind power 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 more than 107 GW installed worldwide, Siemens Gamesa manufactures, installs and maintains wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. The company’s orders backlog stands at €30.2 billion. The company is headquartered in Spain and listed on the Spanish stock exchange, trading on the Ibex-35 index.

Environmental terms for RES licenses ‘still tough’, investors note

Contrary to popular opinion, recently ratified environmental impact licensing rules remain strict for renewable energy investors despite upper-limit capacity increases for wind and solar energy installations, sector officials have pointed out in comments to energypress.

Last August, the energy ministry increased the upper-limit capacity for Category B wind energy installations from 5 MW to 10 MW and Category B solar energy installations from 2 MW to 10 MW.

Investors behind Category B projects do not need to provide environmental impact studies but must meet predetermined environmental terms and all related terms included in a ministerial decision implemented back in January, 2013.

“It is not true that investors merely submit statements declaring that their projects do not have environmental impact, as has been generally said,” a sector official explained. “Investors must observe specific environmental terms and submit studies and data required by the ministerial decision from 2013,” the official added.

Special Ecological Assessments must be conducted for projects planned for protected Natura areas. Also, bird fauna studies must be included in investment applications for Special Protection Zones.

Furthermore, the ministry has advised licensing authorities to be particularly careful when examining project applications slicing big RES projects into a series of smaller projects as a means of simplifying licensing procedures. Such practices need to be stopped, the ministry has stressed.

RAE nearly done with processing for backlog of RES license applications

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is close to completing its processing effort for a backlog of some 1,400 RES license applications representing approximately 24 GW in wind and, primarily, solar projects.

RAE’s processing of a backlog of applications submitted during four cycles from September, 2018 to June, 2019 has been completed, while the authority’s examination of applications submitted in September, 2019 is expected to be completed within the next few days, sources informed.

Once RAE officials complete their processing of last September’s applications, they will begin work on applications submitted last December, which should result in the completion of processing work for the entire backlog by the end of this month, officials have estimated.

A small fraction of the RES license applications submitted during the four cycles between September, 2018 to June, 2019 were rejected. More specifically, of 811 applications examined by the energy authority, 246 were granted production licenses for 1.522 GW in wind energy projects and 430 investment plans were given licenses for 6.2 GW in solar projects.

Meanwhile, public consultation staged by RAE for new rules concerning producer certificates in the RES and combined heat and power (CHP) domains has been completed.

A new platform being developed by RAE for producer certificates will be simple, safe and transparent, and also linked to platforms operated by other entities, including DAPEEP, the RES market operator, so that applications may be swiftly processed, authority officials have informed.

DEPA Commercial invites RES companies for collaboration

DEPA Commercial, one of two new entities formed by gas utility DEPA for its upcoming privatization, has invited renewable energy companies with existing production units or advanced projects to express interest in prospective collaborations.

DEPA Commercial is aiming to transform into an energy company with emphasis on green energy activities, chief executive Costas Xifaras has noted.

According to sources, DEPA Commercial is looking to develop a RES portfolio totaling 240 MW.

Related investments at DEPA Commercial are expected to reach 120 million euros, the company head has stated.

DEPA Commercial, interested in both solar and wind energy projects, is looking to acquire RES production licenses and, especially, mature-stage projects, sources informed, adding the company is seriously considering takeovers.

For the time being, DEPA Commercial does not intend to partner with energy groups active in the RES market as well as the company’s privatization procedure.

Besides its plan to expand into the RES market, DEPA Commercial, currently developing major LNG projects, is also exploring the possibility of entering the hydrogen sector.

Ellaktor, EDPR form alliance seeking greater RES market penetration

The Ellaktor group and EDP Renewables, both aiming for swifter and deeper RES market penetration, have established a strategic partnership following talks that began last summer.

The two companies plan to invest one billion euros over the next four to five years for the development of wind farms with a total capacity of 900 MW, sources have informed.

EDP Renewables was driven towards forming this partnership by the belief that its existing Greek portfolio of licenses, offering a capacity of 152 MW accumulated through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, would be insufficient to secure investment opportunities in the country.

The Ellaktor group, holding a RES portfolio of 460 MW, is looking to further bolster its position in the renewable energy market.

By uniting their portfolios, the two companies believe they will be better positioned for anticipated market changes and opportunities.

Ellaktor stands to also benefit from resulting access into lower-cost capital markets.

The plans of the two partners include development of two wind farms with a total capacity of 436.8 MW in central and southern parts of the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens. The two firms have acquired licenses for these projects from other companies.

A further 460 MW will be developed from a portfolio of existing licenses. These licenses are not linked with Ellaktor’s portfolio of wind parks already operating.

Ellaktor already holds a total of 26 RES projects, all operating. They are comprised of 24 wind energy farms with a total capacity of 484 MW, one small-scale hydropower plant (5 MW) and one solar energy farm (2 MW), offering a total installed capacity of 491 MW.

PPC to offer lignite-dependent area residents 5% stakes in solar farms

Power utility PPC intends to offer residents of lignite-dependent areas in Greece stakes totaling 5 percent in solar farm projects planned by the company as part of its decarbonization strategy, chief executive Giorgos Stassis disclosed in an interview published by Greek daily Kathimerini yesterday.

PPC plans to develop and operate solar farms with a total capacity of 2.5 GW in west Macedonia, northern Greece, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, both lignite-dependent economies.

Besides creating jobs through these investments, PPC plans to offer locals the opportunity to invest in the power utility by acquiring shares for total stakes of 5 percent, Stassis noted.

Through this procedure, residents will join PPC in its investments and enjoy the exact same returns as the company, he said.

“I want to underline the annual investment return on these investments will range between 8 and 10 percent, at a time when deposit interest rates are almost negative,” Stassis said. The offer will be restricted to decarbonization-area residents, he added.

Commenting on local resistance against prospective RES installations, especially on islands, Stassis noted: “Islanders who, for years, have enjoyed low-cost electricity generated in Megalopoli and Ptolemaida at a cost for the environment and human lives, cannot object turbine installations on islands for production of electricity they will consume now that lignite-fired generation has become ultra-expensive and is being abandoned.”

RES groups want rule changes to enable repowering, offering yield boosts

Renewable energy associations and investors have called for legal and regulatory framework revisions that would facilitate repowering, or the replacement of old RES equipment at wind and solar energy parks with upgraded modern technology offering far higher yields.

Prime RES locations around Greece are occupied by installations that date back ten to 20 years and are producing yields well below the potential promised by modern technology.

Aristotelis Hantavas, Enel Green Power’s head official for Europe and president of the Solar Power Europe association, spoke extensively on the matter at a recent industry conference.

“If repowering is facilitated, the country can, in a short period of time, cover one third or possibly half of the ground that remains to be covered to reach the 2030 goal without needing to open up many new wind and solar energy areas, a development that prompts reaction by local authorities, amongst others,” Hantavas pointed out.

The installation of modern wind and solar energy systems in place of older technologies could boost yields by up to three times, experts believe.

This does not necessarily mean investors will secure fixed tariffs as remuneration for any additional capacity installed. RES sector officials believe remuneration will still be based on older agreements for the remainder of their terms.

Once existing contracts have expired, investors should expect to be remunerated for any additional capacity offered by their upgrades through target model markets.

According to current regulations, capacity increases at sites hosting existing solar or wind energy parks are limited to 10 percent.

Also, investors are not permitted to sell RES output through more than one market channel, for example, through tariffs for one part of production and two-way agreements for the rest.

Repowering is currently being widely discussed around Europe, especially in countries with extended renewable energy backgrounds.

 

Greece keen to utilize American RES technology; funds eyeing market

The government wants to utilize latest American technology for more recent RES and RES-related domains such as offshore wind farms and energy storage, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted yesterday during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials in Thessaloniki.

For quite some time now, American renewable energy producers, institutional investors and funds have been scanning the Greek market for RES market opportunities.

A complete framework for offshore wind farms in Greece will be presented early in 2021, Sdoukou pointed out during yesterday’s meeting.

Major offshore wind farm development has been achieved off the American west coast, featuring, like the Mediterranean, waters of sudden depth, ideal conditions for the development of offshore wind farms.

US firms such as Invenergy, one of North America’s biggest wind energy producers; 547 Energy, a RES platform for Quantum Energy Partners; National Energy; and wind energy equipment manufacturer General Electric, have displayed a rising interest in the Greek market.

Besides RES and RES-related companies, a number of American funds are seeking investment opportunities in Greece.

At least ten US funds appear to be keeping a close watch on power utility PPC as a result of the corporation’s strategic turn to renewable energy.

They include Bell Rock Capital, Sephora Investment Advisors, Waterwill Capital Management, Cleargate Capital, Golden Tree Asset Management, Helm Investment Partners, Knighthead Capital Management, Craftsman Management, Colt Capital Partners and Kirkoswald Αsset Μanagement.

 

 

 

 

 

PPC turn to renewable energy backed by BNEF report findings

Wind and solar energy production costs will be lower than those of existing natural gas-fueled power stations by 2025, according to a BloombergNEF analysis on Greece’s electricity market.

The projection vindicates the power utility PPC’s decision to turn to renewable energy, the corporation’s head has indicated.

“The conclusions of the BNEF report are in full agreement with the key pillars of our new strategy,” PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis said.

Installed wind and solar energy capacity will have quadrupled by 2025 compared to present levels, and renewable energy sources will have captured an energy mix share of nearly 50 percent, toppling fossil fuel from its dominant position, even if RES subsidies are not offered for existing technologies such as solar and wind, according to the BNEF analysis.

“The ever-increasing competitiveness of renewable energy sources also confirms, from an economic point of view, our choice to restructure our portfolio and transition our production towards renewable energy sources,” Stassis noted. “By focusing on clean energy, we can achieve a decarbonization of our activities in electricity generation and also reduce the cost of electricity for consumers.”

In addition, the report highlights the important role of consumers as key players in the future energy system, the PPC chief noted.

This supports PPC’s decision to develop a new customer-oriented approach and offer a reinforced portfolio of products and services, using new technologies and digital systems, according to Stassis.

Utilizing lower generation costs offered by wind and solar energy production, PPC will be well positioned for leading roles in other energy sectors, beginning with electromobility, the PPC head supported.

According to the BNEF report, Greece can establish itself as one of the EU’s energy transition leaders.

Lower-cost solar and wind energy production, as well as storage systems, plus increased CO2 emission right costs, are all radically transforming the country’s energy system, the BNEF report noted.

Greece is expected to gain an additional 18 GW in generation capacity by 2030, 67 percent of this increased output represented by wind and solar energy.

Ministry preparing to request RES auctions extension

The energy ministry is preparing to submit an official request to Brussels for an extension of up to three years for RES auctions – both mixed and separate (solar, wind) technologies – a support system securing fixed 20-year tariffs for new wind and solar energy installations.

Greece’s current auction system expires at the end of this year. The energy ministry may seek an extension until the end of 2023, when RES auctions will no longer be available in the EU. A request for a shorter extension is also being contemplated at the ministry.

The energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou has called a meeting for September 18 to involve the participation of all related authorities for decisions before the official extension request is drafted.

A technical report published by global service provider GIZ, analyzing  Greece’s RES auctions over the past three years, RES market achievements during this period, as well as problems that have emerged, will serve as a base for the talks at the upcoming meeting.

The energy ministry wants to prevent any momentum drop in the RES market and believes fixed tariffs, through auctions, over extended periods are necessary as they secure financing for RES projects, and, by extension, their development.

On the other hand, the ministry does not want to overburden the market through excessive RES special account obligations.

Dutch offshore wind energy experience a guide for Greece

Local authorities and investors have turned to the Netherlands for information on the development of offshore wind energy parks.

Offshore wind energy parks in the Netherlands currently represent a capacity of 1 GW, expected to soon rise to 2.5 GW.

Local interest in this RES technology is growing, as highlighted by ongoing talks and public consultation for a related legal and regulatory framework.

In addition, the economic and commercial affairs department of the Greek Embassy in The Hague has prepared a detailed report on the Dutch wind energy sector, focused on offshore wind energy parks.

The Dutch government offers a number of competitive incentives to stimulate energy innovation and promote RES use, which, as a result, has strengthened the country’s position in RES research and development and in particular in wind turbine technology, the report notes.

This is further strengthened by strategic public-private partnerships and world-class institutions such as the Top Consortium for Offshore Winds (TKI Wind op Zee), the Energy Research Center (ECN) and Delft University of Technology, a leading specialist, worldwide, in the field of renewable energy, the report added.

 

Cox Enterprises begins Greek RES entry with Panagakos deal

Cox Enterprises, a privately held global conglomerate headquartered in the US and holding interests primarily in automotive services, communications and media, has reached an agreement with Spec Solaris, a member of the Panagakos Group, for the immediate purchase and development of solar energy farm projects with a total capacity of 18 MW.

These projects represent part of a 275-MW package of 43 PV parks in mainland Greece and the Peloponnese for which the Panagakos Group has secured tariffs.

This deal is expected to be the American investment company’s first of more to come in Greece. Cox Enterprises, currently pursuing investment opportunities in various sectors around the world, is believed to be aiming to amass a Greek RES portfolio of about 1 GW.

The American investment fund, which appears to have sought RES capacities of approximately 400 MW in Greece in the past, through other companies, is currently seeking further acquisitions of solar and wind projects in Greece, either under construction or at a mature stage. It has held talks with Greek companies without reaching any agreement so far.

The first batch of 18 MW in Spec Solaris solar energy projects to be acquired by Cox Enterprises must be ready by January, 2021, meaning their installation needs to be carried out swiftly if binding terms are to be honored.

The American investment company is believed to have reached an agreement with a listed Greek firm for the project’s construction.

The American investment firm is expected to soon also acquire the remaining 257 MW of solar energy park capacities held by the Panagakos Group. These have completion deadlines ranging between April and October in 2022.

The 275-MW package held by Spec Solaris was inducted into a fast-track procedure for strategic investments a decade ago.

Cox Enterprises is believed to be one of dozens of foreign investment funds seeking to make a dynamic entry into the Greek RES market, especially the PV sector, offering attractive terms, including fixed 20-year yields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solar, wind project tariffs at time of project readiness

The energy ministry is preparing a legislative revision to secure tariff levels for solar and wind energy projects at the time of their certified readiness – by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO – not electrification, as is the case at present.

Energy ministry officials are convinced of this revision’s necessity as, in many cases, RES investors have completed the development of their projects but DEDDIE/HEDNO, for various reasons, cannot promptly offer grid connections for these projects, meaning tariff-related opportunities can be missed.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has expressed its support for the energy ministry’s planned revision. As part of the new procedure, the operator will conduct on-site inspections to confirm whether projects are ready for electrification before providing related certificates.

The overall revisions are expected to take two months to complete and be ready for implementation ahead of reference price changes scheduled for November 26. The energy ministry is expected to submit a legislative revision to Parliament within September.

Recovery fund support for RES assembly lines, wind farms

Assembly lines for RES project equipment such as cables and pylons, as well as the development of infrastructure to host offshore wind farms, will feature in energy ministry proposals for funding support through the European Commission’s new recovery plan.

The environment and energy ministry, along with all other ministries, have been given until August 24 to submit their proposals to the Prime Minister’s office for project funding support through the European Commission’s new recovery tool, Next Generation EU.

The proposals from all ministries will then be shaped into a national plan that will then be delivered to Brussels in October for approval.

EU funding support for RES-sector assembly units and offshore wind farm infrastructure would come as an addition to other eco-friendly initiatives taken by the energy ministry, including a third round of subsidy support for domestic energy efficiency upgrades through the Saving at Home program; upcoming subsidies for electric vehicle purchases; green economy investments; and grid network development.

Thoughts for the development of RES equipment assembly lines in Greece had first been aired about a decade ago, but, at the time, the country’s RES sector was too small to make such plans feasible.

New wind farms offering a total capacity of 727.5 MW were connected to Greece’s grid last year, a record-level performance for the country.

 

PPC Renewables OKs terms for Motor Oil joint venture, a 100-MW wind farm

The board at PPC Renewables has approved the fundamental terms of a prospective agreement with Motor Oil for the development and construction of a 100-MW wind farm on one of the Greek islands, still unspecified, energypress sources have informed.

On another front, PPC Renewables yesterday announced a tender for the construction of a 50-MW solar energy complex project in Megalopoli, Peloponnese, whose budget is estimated at 30.7 million euros, not including VAT.

The winning bidder, to be selected through an online auction scheduled for September 30, will be tasked with the Megalopoli project’s design, procurement, transportation of materials and installation of the project’s two parks and substation.

The Megalopoli project will be comprised of two solar energy parks, one with an 11-MW capacity, the other 39 MW.

The project’s 11-MW section recently secured a tariff of 49.11 euros per MWh at an auction staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy. The 39-MW section will operate within the target model’s framework, through two-way power purchase agreements with power utility PPC, PPC Renewables’ parent company.

Meanwhile, preliminary procedures are progressing rapidly for the development of another PPC Renewables-PPC solar energy project, in northern Greece’s Ptolemaida region, until now a lignite-dependent local economy. This project’s planned capacity, 230 MW, makes it one of Europe’s biggest solar energy projects. The project promises to play an important role in Greece’s decarbonization effort.

Work began last month on two smaller 15-MW units to represent part of the overall 230-MW project. Work on the main 200-MW section is expected to commence in January.

Over 300 jobs are expected to be created for the Ptolemaida project’s construction needs, offering vital support for the local economy.