An overwhelming number of renewable projects have received a production license or a producers certificate in Greece so far. However, grid connection and red tape remain the main obstacles for the sector.
The chairman of the Greek energy regulatory authority (RAE), Athanasios Dagoumas, said yesterday during a conference organized by IENE that there are 5,542 licenses for renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 95 GW.
There are 1,983 licensed wind energy projects with an overall 32.9 GW. Another two are for offshore wind (714 MW). RAE issued 2,706 licenses for photovoltaics, with 59 GW in total, while there are 45 for solar thermal technology, 540 for small hydropower plants, 100 for biomass and 166 for hybrid plants in non-connected islands.
It is obvious that not all of these projects are going to be realized. The chairman emphasized that only 10% to 20% would be constructed in order to reach the necessary renewable capacity for 2030.
Licensed storage projects reach 14.3 GW
Energy storage plays an important role in the Greek energy and climate plan for 2030, especially in the years after 2025. Many applications have already been submitted to the regulator for projects that include batteries, and the number keeps rising.
According to Dagoumas, so far 181 projects have received a production license for a total capacity of 14.3 GW. Among them are 14 pump storage hydropower plants, with an overall capacity of 3.04 GW. He noted the largest energy storage project in plan is Terna Energy’s 680 MW pump storage facility in Amfilochia.
He added there are 120 projects for batteries with a total capacity of 9.64 GW and 47 projects combining renewables and storage (1.67 GW).
Red tape and grid issues delay progress
The first significant obstacle to the growth of renewables in Greece concerns the ability of the regulator itself to handle the large number of applications. Dagoumas has said repeatedly that RAE is understaffed, while it is known that local authorities are delaying the process in its later stages.
In order to solve some of the issues in licensing, RAE plans to cooperate with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy and the operators. Furthermore, RAE will produce a study concerning tenders for renewable energy for power purchase agreements or PPAs.
At the same time, the ministry is about to submit to parliament its second revision of the licensing process, which aims to speed up investing time to a year and a half while further simplifying procedures.
Apart from the regulatory and bureaucratic issues, the main issues for the completion of projects are in the area of grid connection. Many regions in Greece have congested power grids and efforts are made to either expand the network through new investment or group different projects together to facilitate their connection.