By approving the draft revision of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan Greece 2.0, the European Commission accepted all the projects that the Ministry of Environment and Energy proposed to be included in the REPowerEU package. The European Union’s executive body greenlighted the changes to Romania’s NRRP as well. The country’s REPowerEU component is worth EUR 2 billion.
In total, EUR 795 million in REPowerEU funding is now part of the updated National Recovery and Resilience Plan Greece 2.0 within the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.
EUR 560 million is earmarked for energy efficiency, the hydrogen and biomethane scheme is worth EUR 75 million, the same as the sum for carbon capture and storage projects (CCS), while EUR 85 million was approved for energy storage.
REPowerEU funds to support energy-saving initiatives, kickstart new technologies
More specifically, the largest part of new investments will be directed to energy-saving measures. The Greek government aims to continue support programs for upgrading houses and businesses and the installation of rooftop photovoltaics and rooftop solar thermal systems.
The initiatives are the primary tools to achieve the new 2030 energy savings goal, which is 7% higher than in the previous National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). The final energy consumption ceiling was set at 15.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent, which is considered a difficult and ambitious goal.
Skylakakis: Still early to tell which technologies are the best
The ministry has said that things are still at an exploratory stage when it comes to renewable gases. Many technologies will be studied and tested to determine the most competitive ones, it added.
“We do not know if hydrogen, biomethane or batteries will be the primary choice and any mistake we make will have a high cost”, Minister Thodoros Skylakakis warned.
CCS is another new technology that Greece aims to take advantage of. The plan is to store excess carbon dioxide in Energean’s depleted hydrocarbons reservoir of Prinos near Kavala. Italy has expressed interest in transferring CO2 to Greece for storage, adding to the viability of the project.
Last but not least, EUR 85 million will be directed for battery energy storage and pumped storage hydropower plants. The funds will be added to the existing EUR 200 million for the three first battery auctions. The first was carried out earlier this year, while the second round is set to take place in December and the third is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.
Implementation to be challenging
With the inclusion of the projects in REPowerEU, the NRRP grew to EUR 18.2 billion in grants and EUR 17.7 billion in loans.
The government is obligated to complete its obligations within a strict timeframe. The country must spend the REPower EU funds by the end of 2026, meaning there is no margin for procrastination.
One major problem for Greece are the delays on the level of local administrations, who are slow and sometimes unwilling to make necessary decisions.
The European Commission emphasized the issue during its recent evaluation of the Greek energy sector. “The implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Fund in Greece continues, but faces certain challenges. It has reached a stage where administrative burden is high and depends more on local and peripheral administrations,” it said.
Romania adds two reform measures
Romania’s REPowerEU chapter, worth EUR 2 billion, will be financed by revenue from the Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) – EUR 1.4 billion, Brexit Adjustment Reserve transfer – EUR 43 million and the freed-up loan capacity following the amendments to the NRRP – EUR 577 million, the European Commission said. It consists of two reforms and seven investments.
The plan is now worth €28.5 billion: EUR 14.9 billion in loans and EUR 13.6 billion in grants.
One of the reforms is to create a legal framework for the use of non-productive or degraded state property for green energy production. The other is to introduce one-stop-shops to provide advisory services for energy efficiency renovations and energy production from renewable sources for prosumers.
The seven investments aim to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources, the pace of energy efficiency renovations and the requalification of the workforce towards green skills. One interesting item is support for floating photovoltaics of 20 MW in total on irrigation canals.
It should be noted that Romania also faces delays. It asked the European Commission to switch the funding for some of the projects from its NRRP to the Cohesion Fund to extend the deadlines.