Renewables

Amari hybrid power plant in Crete becomes Greece’s strategic investment project

Amari hybrid power Crete Greece strategic investment

Photo: Terna Energy

Published

April 18, 2022

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Published:

April 18, 2022

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Greece awarded a strategic investment status to Terna Energy’s plan to combine wind power and pumped storage hydropower. The storage facility in Amari in Crete will allow the country’s biggest island to deploy a significant renewable energy capacity.

The Interministerial Committee of Strategic Investments of Greece accepted the applications of the developers of two projects to state agency Enterprise Greece, giving them the status of strategic investments on a national level. They are worth EUR 1.2 billion in total, of which the larger one is for Microsoft’s data centers. The other, valued at EUR 240 million, was submitted by Terna Energy.

The company, part of the GEK Terna conglomerate, wants to install a wind farm and a pumped storage hydropower system in the Amari area in Crete and integrate them to create a so-called hybrid power plant. Such a facility would enable the country’s biggest island to deploy a significant renewable energy capacity.

The wind park in the Amari hybrid plant should power the system that is planned to pump water to the upper reservoir for energy storage

Output at solar and wind parks is intermittent, as changes in weather conditions are largely unpredictable, so storage is necessary to balance the electric power system. Also, using stored energy during peak hours is cheaper.

Crete is still mostly dependent on oil-fired power plants, though the situation has changed with the first interconnection with mainland Greece, and more undersea link projects are underway.

Amari hybrid power plant Crete Greece strategic investment
Photo: Oakae.gr

Amari to have 227 MW in guaranteed power

The wind energy segment of Terna Energy’s endeavor should consist of 26 turbines, the Ministry of Development and Investment said, adding that the entire project would create 110 full-time jobs, calculated on an annual basis. According to the company’s website, the pumping units will be powered exclusively by the Sitia wind park, which will have a capacity of 89.1 MW.

The Lower Kaleköy in neighboring Turkey consists of a hydroelectric unit of 510 MW and an 80 MW photovoltaic plant

The pump system is envisaged to be installed underground at the existing reservoir of the Potamoi dam. It will consist of three constant speed turbine pumps of 31 MW per unit and twelve variable speed pumps of 3.2 MW each. However, on the project summary page, Terna Energy said the pump system’s total capacity is 72.

According to the company’s blog, the system is planned to consist of a hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of up to 93 MW and a pump complex of 140 MW.

“In this way, a guaranteed 227 MW power in Crete’s system is ensured, covering a significant part of the island’s needs. An equal amount of energy produced by polluting stations that use oil as fuel is thus avoided,” Terna Energy said.

Largest clean energy project in Europe

Terna said it would build an upper reservoir with a capacity of 1.2 million cubic meters. The entire investment is valued at EUR 280 million, it added in its blog.

The investment’s domestic added value exceeds 60% and is expected to reach EUR 170 million, Terna Energy revealed. It claims it is the largest clean energy project in Europe.

Of note, the Lower Kaleköy (Aşağı Kaleköy) in neighboring Turkey consists of a hydroelectric unit of 510 MW and an 80 MW photovoltaic plant. Furthermore, wind turbines might be added. It is located in the country’s east, in Asia Minor.

Terna Energy is also working on its Amfilochia pumped storage hydropower project in Greece. The European Commission approved the status of a project of common interest or PCI in 2013 for the system, while one year after that Greece declared it a strategic investment. Amfilochia is set to have a capacity of 680 MW in turbine mode and 730 MW for pumping.

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