Renewables

Solar power capacity in Greece overtakes wind for first time

wind energy

Photo: seagul on Pixabay

Published

August 10, 2022

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Published:

August 10, 2022

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Photovoltaics are now the number one renewable energy source in Greece with new solar capacities, both connected to the grid and under development, surpassing wind energy capacities for the first time.

According to the latest official data from the Renewable Energy Sources Operator and Guarantees of Origin (DAPEEP), 207.4 MW of new renewable energy capacities were installed in May 2022, out of which 153.2 MW were solar power plants and just 51.8 MW were wind farms.

In comparison, 904 MW of new renewables were installed in 2019 – 747 MW in wind farms and 147 MW in PV.

The latest figures bring total installations to 4.294 MW for wind and 4.173 MW for PV. However, if 371 MW in rooftop PVs are included, total photovoltaic capacity has surpassed wind energy for the first time in the country.

It should also be noted that DAPEEP foresees new renewable installations to reach 1,900 MW this year: 950 MW of PV capacities and 910 MW of wind power plants.

New capacity appears to decelerate

Wind installations have been reduced year on year in H1 2022 to just 83 MW, according to the Hellenic Wind Energy Association (ELETAEN), compared to 260.5 MW in H1 2021. At the end of June 2022, over 650 MW of new wind farms were under construction and they are expected to become operational in the next 12 months, however it is evident that it is less than in DAPEEP’s forecast.

Another point that highlights the change is the ongoing renewables tender for 1,000 MW of capacity. The deadline for submissions was August 8 and there were only 34 applications for a total of 954 MW, of which 20 where for solar PV (597 MW) and 15 for wind power projects (357 MW).

The competition level is set at 80%, meaning that the actual awarded capacity will be lower than that.

Licensing time and local reactions limit wind growth

The main issues for the decrease in new wind farms are rising costs and delays as a result of bureaucratic hurdles and local reactions.

The energy crisis and inflation have pushed up the cost of materials for wind facilities in the past year. Wind farms require significantly more materials than PV, as they use steel and concrete, therefore project developers have to pay more now than before to realize their investments.

Specifically in Greece, wind farms are also faced with long licensing times, often reaching more than seven years, as the result of delays by public bodies.

Another sensitive issue is public acceptance, as the sector has been faced with local organized reactions since the beginning. These reactions often lead to appeals in the supreme court, meaning even more delays.

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