Assessment of June cycle producer certificate bids by end of month

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

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

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

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

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

 

New RES support framework, featuring changes, imminent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Consumption record expected, industry on switch-off standby

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RES capacity boosted, auctions to be extended until 2025

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Connection terms list topped by PPC Renewables, key projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Small wind turbine connection applications in early 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RES investment interest high in June cycle, attracting 17 GW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Municipal solar parks to help low-income household energy needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry, DG Comp continuing talks on new RES auctions

The energy ministry and Brussels’ Directorate-General for Competition are continuing negotiations aiming to shape Greece’s new RES auctions from 2021 to 2024, the attention of these talks focused on details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

Ministry officials are hoping the Brussels authority will offer its endorsement of the plan within the summer so that the first session of the new-look RES auctions can be announced in September and staged within 2021.

No changes to the fundamental structure of the Greek plan are expected. The ministry has proposed six mixed RES auctions (wind and solar) by 2024 and 350-MW capacities on offer at each session.

In its effort to ensure a balance in the opportunities for wind and solar projects at these mixed RES auctions, the ministry has proposed that either technology secures no less than 30 percent of the tariff agreements at each session.

Such a term is deemed necessary as protection for wind energy projects, facing far higher equipment costs than solar energy projects, and, as a result, unable to follow PVs along a path of reduced tariff offers. No wind energy projects secured tariffs at the most recent RES auction, last month.

Greece’s proposal for the inclusion of an additional 1 GW capacity into the new RES auction format, as a reserve amount for auctions to concern a series of special RES categories, is one of the aspects being negotiated.

Environmental permit bid by Eunice for 106 turbines on 14 islets rejected

The energy ministry’s environmental division has rejected an environmental permit application submitted by Kykladitika Meltemia, a member of the Eunice Energy Group, for an investment plan entailing the installation of 106 wind turbines, promising a total capacity of 486 MW, on 14 uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea.

The company submitted its environmental permit application in November, 2018 for its project, dubbed Aegean. Many months of public consultation on the project’s environmental impact plan followed before the ministry’s decision to reject the Kykladitika Meltemia application was eventually announced yesterday.

The company’s environmental permit application was rejected as the proposed project’s environmental repercussions were deemed significant, meaning environmental neutrality at the project’s various sites could not be assured, the ministry explained, citing a related EU directive.

The project’s spatial plan overlaps into a total of 16 Natura 2000 protected zones, the ministry noted.

Details, not structure, holding back RES auction plan talks

Ongoing negotiations between the energy ministry and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition for Greece’s new RES auction system are currently being held back by Brussels concerns over certain details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

The energy ministry is prepared, if needed, to remove aspects causing issues so that negotiations on the new RES auction plan can be completed as swiftly as possible, sources have informed.

The new RES auction plan could be approved within the current summer, according to the more optimistic of forecasts, while the first RES auction under the new framework could be staged towards the end of this year.

At present, local officials are awaiting comments from Brussels following a Greek response to questions prior to Greek Orthodox Easter a couple of weeks ago. Ministry official are hoping Brussels’ comments will be kept to a minimum, which would pave the way for the RES auction plan’s approval.

According to the new RES auction plan, six combined solar and wind energy RES auctions will be staged until 2024, offering a total capacity of 350 MW at every session, for an overall capacity of 2.1 GW.

PPC to offer energy efficiency services following rival moves

The board at power utility PPC, which has lined up a shareholders’ meeting for June 4, will propose company statute revisions including one to facilitate the company’s entry into energy efficiency services, following dynamic moves into this sector by rival suppliers.

The board will propose to shareholders a corporate statute addition concerning the purpose of its operation and activity, covering: “Trade, supply, sale, various related products and equipment, as well as the provision of products and services for the design, implementation, installation, management and financing of energy production, heating, cooling and energy efficiency systems in buildings and facilities “.

According to sources, PPC has already begun planning its move into energy efficiency services, through which consumers will be able to install roof-mounted solar panels at homes combined with net metering. PPC also plans to provide specialized, digital solutions for enterprises and facilities to limit their energy consumption levels.

In other company developments, PPC has decided to maintain two board posts, on its eleven-member board, for worker representatives.

Majority 80% of RES applicants provide certificate payments

A sizeable portion of RES investors, approximately 20 percent, who were entitled to producer certificates after submitting related applications, abandoned their plans by not paying their resulting fees, latest data released by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a December 2020 cycle has shown.

The majority 80 percent of applicants, numbering 1,249, followed through with their producer certificate payments to add a further 27 GW to the accumulation of RES license applications, all at various maturity stages.

A May 11 deadline was set for the December 2020 cycle’s producer certificate payments.

Investors submitted a total of 1,865 applications to the December 2020 cycle, representing a total of approximately 45 GW. Of these, 1,544 applications, representing 34.4 GW, fulfilled all criteria and their investors were invited to pay fees for the issuance of producer certificates.

The remainder of applications that failed to qualify, representing approximately 10 GW, were held back by a variety of problems, primarily property overlapping issues.

RES investors with property overlapping issues will need to resolve matters between them so that producer certificate applications represent one property per application.

In terms of RES technology, 79.6 percent of solar energy project applicants paid their fees for producer certificates in the December 2020 cycle.

The figure was slightly higher for wind energy applications, reaching 81 percent.

Competitive procedure for RES units over 250 MW examined

The energy ministry has begun considering a competitive procedure specified for wind and solar energy parks with capacities of over 250 MW, a move prompted by the European Commission’s clear-cut opposition to individual investor initiatives for RES projects of such scale, sources have informed.

However, it is still too early to tell if the ministry will end up implementing any such plan.

The European Commission, in response to a related enquiry made by the ministry, noted it cannot endorse any reference price formula for individual wind and solar energy project initiatives of such scale, stressing that such plans have not been endorsed by Brussels anywhere in the EU.

A number of investors are believed to have expressed strong interest to the energy ministry for the development, based on individual initiatives, of wind and solar energy parks with capacities exceeding 250 MW.

Energy investment activity rising, focus on RES projects, energy transition

Investment activity in the domestic energy sector is rising with major deals being negotiated, the main focus being on renewables and the energy transition, participants at yesterday’s Delphi Economic Forum made clear.

This activity promises significant growth for all RES technologies, even the more innovative, such as offshore wind farms and energy storage units.

Major energy players are moving to capitalize on opportunities that are emerging as the country pushes ahead with its decarbonization effort. Also, investor talks concerning domestic and international partnerships, the latter promising to secure expertise in sectors such as offshore wind farms, are in progress.

Power utility PPC, moving ahead with RES investments, aims to have launched projects with a total capacity of 1.5 GW by 2023. The utility’s redevelopment plan for the country’s two lignite-dependent regions, Ptolemaida, in the north, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, is in progress.

PPC plans to invest 3.4 billion euros on RES project development in these regions, and an upgrade of their distribution networks, Konstantinos Mavros, chief executive of PPC Renewables, a PPC subsidiary, told the forum.

PPC is also expected to establish partnerships facilitating its entry into the offshore wind market. In addition, the company also aims to have formed a joint venture with German power company RWE by the end of summer for development of RES projects totaling 2 GW.

Elsewhere, energy company Mytilineos is also preparing a strategic alliance with a major international group for its entry into the offshore wind farm sector.

Mytilineos is also close to completing, this year, a major post-lignite investment in natural gas-fueled electricity generation. In addition, the company plans to develop 300 MW in wind farms and 1.5 GW in solar farms over the next two years.

Furthermore, Mytilineos plans to develop 20 energy storage projects, each with 50 MW capacity, by utilizing its immense knowhow gained in this field through involvement in such projects abroad.

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is preparing RES and digital transition projects and will concurrently focus efforts to reduce carbon emissions and develop more eco-friendly products, including biofuels and hydrogen.

The Copelouzos group is nearing an investment decision on the development of a natural gas-fueled power station in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece. A decision is expected this summer. The group is currently engaged in talks with neighboring North Macedonia’s power utility for its possible entry into this project as a minority partner.

As for networks, power grid operator IPTO has planned numerous projects as part of a ten-year investment plan worth five billion euros. The operator anticipates new RES project penetration of 17 GW, a forecast exceeding the National Energy and Climate Plan’s goals.

DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, has put together a 3 billion-euro investment plan for the two next regulatory periods, each four years long. Projects include network undergrounding, service upgrades and improvement, new technologies, as well as grid digitalization projects.

RES installation permit deadline for producer certificate validity

The energy ministry’s RES licensing committee has proposed an additional deadline, for installation permit applications, as part of a second wave of interventions in the licensing simplification effort for new RES projects.

According to the proposal, if investors miss their installation permit application deadline, then producer certificates obtained for related projects would automatically expire.

Investors would be given a twelve-month period to submit their installation permit applications once connection offers have been accepted for solar energy projects, onshore wind farms and hybrid units, and 18 months for all other RES technologies and combined cooling, heart and power (CCHP) facilities, according to the committee’s proposal.

Producer certificate applications backlog ‘processed by June’

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will have processed all RES project applications for producer certificates by June, its chief executive Thanassis Dagoumas, has informed, describing the authority’s upgraded IT system, enabling swifter processing, as a key step in its digital transformation.

Processing of applications submitted through the February, 2021 cycle will commence once the appraisal of December, 2020 applications has been completed, the objective being to have cleared the entire backlog by this June, when the next cycle is scheduled to commence, Dagoumas noted.

The authority’s IT upgrade has enabled RAE to receive, in a secure and reliable way, 2,341 applications representing a total of 54.36 GW through the two cycles in December 2020 and February, 2021, Dagoumas highlighted.

The authority has managed to process a large percentage of producer certificate applications received through the December, 2020 cycle faster than ever before, the RAE chief informed.

RAE has offered preliminary approval for producer certificate applications representing projects with a total capacity of 34.5 GW, whose investors are expected to soon pay related fees to DAPEEP, the RES market operator, a step prompting automated issuance of producer certificates.

A large number of overlapping RES project plans was detected during processing, which will require RAE to conduct closer examinations of these cases, the RAE chief said.

Dagoumas also pointed out that intensified competition in the RES market is paving the way for a further reduction in tariffs, expected to drop to a level of less than 40 euros per MWh for major-scale solar energy production.

Registrations for a combined (solar and wind energy) RES auction on May 24 have greatly exceeded levels needed for strong bidding competition, as 128 projects representing 1,090 MW will participate, the RAE head informed.

PPC eyeing Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia for RES investments

Power utility PPC is looking to make its next major investment moves in the neighboring countries of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, solar energy and hydropower projects being a priority.

RES activity has soared in these three countries over recent years and is expected to continue.

PPC, which has not taken any investment initiatives abroad in quite a few years, anticipates it will be ready to announce details on major-scale solar farm projects in these countries towards the end of the year.

Bulgarian officials are making plans for 2.64 GW in new RES installations by 2030, of which 2.2 GW will concern solar farms, according to the country’s ten-year climate plan.

In Romania, the country’s 2030 projection is for investments reaching 5.2 GW in wind farm investments and approximately 5 GW in solar farms.

Serbia, possibly offering the biggest green energy investment opportunities among these three countries, will need between 8 and 10 GW in RES investments to replace coal-fired generation with a capacity of 4.4 GW by 2050, deputy energy minister Jovanka Atanackovic recently announced.

A first round of wind and solar project auctions is planned to take place in Serbia by the end of this year.

A month and a half ago, a partnership involving PPC and international contractor Archirodon advanced to the second round of a tender staged in North Macedonia for construction and operation of a major hydropower plant, Cebren, budgeted between 500 and 600 million euros and with a capacity between 333 and 458 MW.

PPC will continue to pursue this Cebren contract but its main focus will be on Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia and their solar energy project opportunities, sources informed.

 

 

PPC Renewables consortium for offshore wind farm projects

PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, plans to establish a consortium for offshore wind farm investments and is preparing, for this year, a tender for RES projects totaling 100 MW, the subsidiary’s chief executive Konstantinos Mavros (photo) has informed two energy conferences, the 11th Annual Sustainability Forum, organized by Capital Link, and the Athens bourse’s 1st Energy Conference, both held yesterday.

The company head’s update comes as further proof of the power utility PPC group’s intensifying effort for a leading role in the green energy sector.

Offshore wind farm projects demand major investment synergies and “we will seek to establish a consortium” for this purpose, the PPC Renewables chief told the first of the two conferences.

Speaking later at the Athens bourse conference, Mavros also informed that PPC Renewables plans to stage a tender for a total of 100 MW in new RES projects. One of these projects will be a large-scale solar farm, he noted without elaborating. According to energypress sources, PPC Renewables will also develop a big wind farm.

The PPC group is also moving ahead with a plan to establish Greece’s first ever power purchase agreement (PPA), as a RES producer, with industrial consumers. PPC and PPC Renewables plan to establish a PPA in July for 50 MW through a solar farm in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

NECP needs revising, EU CO2 emission goal more ambitious

The EU’s level of RES investment objectives has been raised even higher following an agreement reached this week by the member states and European Parliament for a swifter reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, reached after many months of inconclusive negotiations.

The agreement for a CO2 emissions reduction of at least 55 percent by the end of the decade, instead of 40 percent, as had been previously set, will subsequently require EU member states to revise their National Energy and Climate Plans.

NECP objectives concerning wind, solar and all other green-energy technologies will need to be reset.

For Greece, this development means that a 2019 NECP goal for the installation of 8.8 GW in new RES capacity by 2030 needs to be increased to over 10 GW, sources have informed energypress.

The precise figure will be determined by the proportion, or mix, of wind, solar and other RES categories to be included in Greece’s updated NECP, as each technology offers different GWh results per GW installed.

Greece’s NECP committee will soon need to proceed with new calculations and decide on a revised strategy.

The country’s revised NECP will also detail Greece’s updated decarbonization plan, including PPC’s commitment to complete this effort sooner by turning off its Ptolemaida V facility as a lignite-fired unit in 2025, not 2028, as originally planned. PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis pointed out this change of plan to analysts earlier this week.

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 million euros 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.