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.

 

Greece should aim for more ambitious wind energy target, authority notes

Greece should aim for a more ambitious wind energy objective in its National Energy and Climate Plan for 2030, WindEurope’s Head of Advocacy & Messaging Joël Meggelaars has remarked following favorable results achieved at Greece’s second RES auction for the year, staged a week ago.

Onshore wind secured almost 160 MW of capacity in Greece’s recent second renewables auction for the year. The prices were competitive, coming in within a range of €55–65/MWh.

This price level is lower than in Greece’s first onshore wind auction in July, where onshore wind prices ranged between €68-72/MWh.

“These are impressive results. The average price level is even lower than in the last French and German onshore auctions. The fact that prices have come down is a signal of confidence from investors in the outlook for wind energy in Greece. The high level of competition and the participation of big investors with large wind portfolios in Greece and the wider region has helped to create downward pressure on prices,” Meggelaars noted.

Nine wind projects, all holding environmental and grid connection licenses and located in Greece’s north and central regions, secured capacities at last week’s session.

“These results are a clear sign that wind can deliver affordable electricity to Greek consumers and businesses,” the WindEurope official noted. “Ambition and deployment outlook will help Greece to attract new investments, enjoy further cost reductions and create local economic benefits.”

However, permit costs for wind farms in Greece remain an issue and need to be simplified, Meggelaars stressed.

“The winners in this auction already anticipated these costs as they began developing their projects almost a decade ago. The Greek government should look at simplifying permit procedures and also give more transparency on the length of time needed for environmental assessment, spatial planning and grid connection procedures.”

Regulated electricity prices ‘impeding clean energy package’

Regulating retail prices impedes the successful implementation of the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package, a unique opportunity that would empower European energy consumers, Eurelectric, Europex, WindEurope and EFET (European Federation of Energy Traders) have warned in a joint statement.

The package promises to empower consumers through a combination of measures, such as efficient price signals, certified comparison tools and easy switching, the four associations noted. Should retail prices continue to be regulated in some member states, the benefits brought by the Clean Energy Package would be severely weakened, they stressed.

Retail price regulation is also a serious obstacle to competition among electricity supply companies, the groups noted, as this reduces the incentive of companies to become more efficient and discourages the emergence of new market participants, they explained.

In addition to their negative impact on retail markets, regulated prices also distort the functioning of the wholesale markets, limiting and partly undermining the price formation process, ultimately leading to higher electricity costs for all consumers, the associations noted.

Regulated end-user prices aim to protect household – even non-household – consumers from energy costs increases but the pricing methodology often lacks transparency and can prove counterproductive, the associations stressed.

Also, the phasing-out of regulated prices does not imply the end of fixed-price contracts, the associations specified, adding that electricity suppliers will continue to offer such contracts.