Wind power deployment proportional to incentives


July 6, 2015






July 6, 2015





Turkey added 804 MW in wind turbine capacity last year, and ranked tenth in the global scale, European Commission’s Joint Research Center published in its third annual report, signed by Roberto Lacal Arántegui and Javier Serrano González. Nine countries in the first tier increased wind energy installations by more than 1 GW, led by China with 23.2 GW, well ahead of second-ranked Germany (6.5 GW). The overall added capacity was a record 52.8 GW. The document presented key technology, market and economic aspects of wind energy on a global scale, with an accent on European Union.

Looking at changes year on year, Turkey belongs to stable-growing markets, with an increase of 158 MW or 24% in comparison to 2013. Meanwhile, European Union markets covered by Balkan Green Energy News didn’t perform so well – Romania did add 354 MW, but that was 49% less year on year, while Greece installed 114 MW, almost the same as in the previous two years, and Bulgaria’s report was disastrous: an increase of just 9 MW, compared to 7 MW in 2013 and 158 MW the year before. Croatia dropped from 122 MW to 86 MW of new capacity year on year. Cyprus didn’t add a single turbine in 2013 and 2014, while Slovenia installed only 1 MW, after its first 2 MW in 2013.

Romania is fifth in the EU in the category of the share of installed wind power capacity – 11.52%, and Greece (6.05%) is in the tenth position, while Denmark leads with 39.16%, followed by Portugal (24.21%), Spain (19.79%) and Ireland (19.54%), according to transmission network Entso-E’s latest data. According to information from Eurostat, those member states were in the same order weighed by wind power’s share in the consumption at the end of 2014, the report said.

Turkey’s share of European new capacity in 2014 was 6%. Its overall 3.8 GW in wind facilities is 3% of the cumulative 134 GW, which ranks it tenth in the continent, according to data obtained by the EC’s Joint Research Center.

Grid connection delayed till 2016

Although mid-way to the target 1.44 GW, deployment of power generation from renewable sources in Bulgaria is stalling, authors said in the document’s analyses and projections section. In May 2012, units with preliminary grid contract had their connection postponed until 2016. Connection procedure is seen as lacking transparency. Furthermore, since mid-March 2014, distribution companies have been limiting the maximum power generation of all wind and photovoltaic plants by 60%. The national target is not very high so a positive shift in support policy would make Bulgaria reach it, but the problem is that this shift seems unlikely, according to the analysis. The feed-in tariff is the base of the support scheme, with BGN 95.55 (EUR 49) per MWh for a period of 12 years. Share of wind power in overall consumption in the country is currently 4.21%, compared to 4.71% in Cyprus and 4.28% in Croatia.

Fluctuating referential feed-in tariff

Croatia’s relatively small target for 2020 of 400 MW was nearly reached with 87% last year. The feed-in tariff system in Croatia was introduced in 2007 with a positive response by investors. The amount depends on reference price and the period of support is 14 years. After the 2012 amendment on the support scheme, a slowdown trend has been observed. Concern was expressed because there were no purchase agreements from January this year. Furthermore, the report noted, other barriers are in the cost of connection procedure and in spatial planning.

Support for new projects abolished

Cyprus was lagging behind with only 49% of the target 300 MW reached last year and only one installation permitted and under development. The government stopped wind energy support for new facilities, with the exception of a 30 MW ongoing project. Policies that would allow reaching the target have still to be defined, amid concerns that the country’s low wind resources might make utilization too expensive, in a context of a weak electrical grid, the report said. Other than that, complexity of administrative procedure was noted.

Greece to reach just half of target by 2020

Because of slow economic recovery and the ongoing reduction in wind energy costs, deployment in Greece is seen more positively than in previous years. The feed-in tariff lasts 20 years. For wind plants above 5 MW it is EUR 82 per MWh in the interconnected grid or EUR 105 per MWh if no capital grant had been received. In islands that are not interconnected the support is EUR 90 per MWh, or EUR 110 MWh for wind projects that didn’t get a capital grant. Still, it is unlikely that the market will reach the target of 7.5 GW and projections suggest it will be short by 50% in 2020. The wind facilities reached 1.98 GW through 2014, according to the report.

A levy on the gross income of all operating renewable energy sources projects was imposed in 2012, the report notes. Main barriers for expansion are the lack of a reliable support scheme, weakness of grid development, and longevity of the procedure. The national action plan projects 300 MW of offshore installed capacity, but so far there is none.

Certificates scheme watered down

In 2013, Romania introduced retroactive regulatory changes that fundamentally changed the economics for existing installations. Mandatory acquisition quotas for tradable green certificates –defined by law till 2020 – were slashed drastically. Last year the reduction was from 15% to 11.1% and energy-intensive companies were exempted largely without redistribution of the obligations. The validity of certificates was reduced from 16 to 12 months. Furthermore, half of the green certificates for between 2013 and 2017 were delayed to the period between 2018 and 2020, so 1.5 certificates per MWh are issued through 2017 and 0.75 per MWh further on. Romania’s changes in regulation with retroactive effect put investment trust in jeopardy and brought about impairment losses for developers, such as Verbund and ČEZ, the report said. The penalty for missing a certificate is EUR 119.3. Without policy changes, Romania will not reach its target of 4 GW, compared to just under 3 GW in operation at the end of last year (above 2.88 GW planned), the authors noted. Lack of market competition, slow grid development, and lack of transparency in grid connection were listed as other concerns.

Sluggish start towards an easy goal

Slovenia’s situation is seen as similar to Slovakia’s, as the former Yugoslav republic has a large gap between the 106 MW target and only 3 MW installed, but the total figure is seen as small and reachable under a favourable regulatory framework. The 15-year support scheme is based on a sliding feed-in tariff. Reference prices are EUR 95.38 per MWh for units under 10 MW and EUR 86.75 up to 125 MW. To calculate the premium, average electricity market price is deducted and the result is multiplied by a factor of 0.8 for under 10 MW and 0.86 up to 50 MW. Main barriers for wind power deployment, according to the document’s authors, are in relation to the reliability of the regulatory framework, the duration of the administrative process, and in spatial and environmental planning.

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