Renewables

Renewables permits in Greece nearing 100 GW but grid lacks capacity

photovoltaics

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Published

March 14, 2023

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Published:

March 14, 2023

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An overwhelming number of renewable energy projects in Greece have producer certificates but connection issues remain, especially for photovoltaics.

Public relations chief of the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) Dionysis Papachristou recently said projects with 98.3 GW in total capacity have received at least some of the licenses. There is 25.3 GW with approved environmental terms, while another 65.1 GW is in the earlier development stages. Licenses for energy storage have reached 24.4 GW, for 356 projects.

The electric power system includes 9.8 GW of renewables in operation while final connection terms have been issued for another 10.7 GW. According to the country’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan, total renewable energy capacity needs to reach 25 GW by 2030.

However, grid issues keep causing delays. According to solar association POSPIEF’s General Secretary Petros Tsikouras, there is 1 GW in installed and licensed photovoltaic systems waiting to be connected.

POSPIEF: It often takes up to 12 months to process grid connection requests

Speaking to PV-Magazine, he added it often takes up to 12 months to process grid connection requests. The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) is failing to meet deadlines, so POSPIEF is calling for investors to be allowed to build their own grid connection lines. However, the government confirmed HEDNO’s monopoly in 2020.

Government blamed for delays, accused of foul play

It should be noted that many investors who await connections have loans to pay back, suffering financial damages as a result of the delays.

Given the high interest in building renewable energy facilities, some are accusing the government of taking advantage of limited grid space by favoring companies of its own choosing. Furthermore, there have been examples of badly planned auctions, like for photovoltaic units of up to 400 kW in Crete and the Peloponnese. In both cases, some investors were found to be using special software to flood the system and have their offer accepted, so others have appealed to the courts.

Opposition parties such as Syriza and Pasok have accused the government of favoring specific interests with a recent bill on renewables and providing various exemptions a few months before the national elections.

HEDNO and IPTO to expand grid to accommodate more green energy

HEDNO and Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO), the transmission system operator, are upgrading the network and building lines.

IPTO, also known for its Greek acronym Admie, expects to finish the 400 kV Western Corridor for the Peloponesse by the end of April after some delay. HEDNO, or Deddie, has added plans for several substations to its ten-year development plan.

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