Renewables

Greece slashes allowed capacity for prosumers, tightens rules for energy communities

Greece capacity prosumers rules for energy communities

Photo: Oscar Cavazos / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

Published

March 22, 2023

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Published:

March 22, 2023

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Comments:

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The Hellenic Parliament passed an extensive law covering many aspects of renewable energy installations. The maximum capacity of solar power systems for household and business prosumers was cut to 10 kW and 100 kW, respectively.

The legal framework in Greece has been changed for net metering, renewable energy communities, wind turbines, the role of the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) and licensing for photovoltaics and natural gas–fired power plants.

Household and business prosumers got the maximum capacity for rooftop photovoltaic systems set at 10 kW and 100 kW, respectively, compared to 3 MW before. The government argued that grid space is limited.

UNICEN: Capacity must be raised to 1 MW for industries

Given that Greece already lagged in net metering capacity, the comprehensive law on renewables that the Hellenic Parliament has just voted for is expected to perpetuate the country’s issues in the segment. HELLAPCO, the Greek solar energy association, already called for the net metering limit to increase to 400 kW for businesses.

At the same time, industrial consumers, especially in the mid-voltage segment, complained about the limitation, saying that it goes against their effort to face the energy crisis and high costs. The head of the Hellenic Union of Industrial Consumers of Energy (UNICEN), Antonis Kontoleon, said the capacity within the net metering mechanism has to be raised from 100 kW to at least 1 MW.

Small PVs to receive tariffs

The new law provides the opportunity for small PVs of up to 500 kW to acquire fixed tariffs without competing in renewable electricity auctions for the remainder of the year.

For small PV projects belonging to energy communities, the deadline is the end of September 2023, while for wind farms of up to 6 MW it is set at the end of 2024.

Two types of energy communities created

The former framework for energy communities is abolished and two different types will exist: renewable energy communities and citizen energy communities.

In both cases, citizens, businesses and local communities will be able to participate with the difference being that farmers’ associations will only be included in renewable energy communities.

The biggest change is that at least 30 members are required to form a community, up from five. The goal is to avoid the abuse of the framework by individuals who are not actually interested in installing a power plant, but seek to sell their license.

No more licenses for gas-fired plants

Based on an amendment submitted by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, there is a break in the licensing of new natural gas plants. Given the fact that many companies have submitted applications to build such units in Greece, the government estimates that current investments already at an advanced stage are enough to cover future needs.

Power suppliers are required to return windfall profits to support consumers. A EUR 100 million program for the installation of solar thermal rooftop systems has been initiated.

Used wind turbines can be moved to islands

The law includes a rule on reusing old wind turbines.

It aims to give a second life to functioning wind turbines if such models are required but no longer manufactured. Smaller turbines can be moved from existing wind farms on land to non-interconnected islands. Their size has to be between 60 kW and 1 MW.

Regulatory body gets jurisdiction over water and waste management

Another big change is the reform of the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), which from now on will take water and waste management under its supervision and will be renamed accordingly to Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water (RAWEW).

It has led to reactions from all three sectors since the watchdog was already under great pressure and it is chronically understaffed.

The authority’s current and past leadership claimed the changes would lead to cuts in salaries and downgrade position titles as part of the new management structure.

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