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Opportunities in Greece’s wind sector

BY DIMITRIS ASSIMAKIS AND MINAS KITSILIS

Dimitris Assimakis and Minas Kitsilis provide a brief update on the investment climate for wind power developers in Greece.

Despite the economic climate of the last five and a half years, Greece continues to display a strong rate of wind park commissioning, averaging 200MW per year. This has resulted in its installed wind capacity almost tripling from 750MW in 2006 to almost 2.1GW in June 2015 with around 1GW having been installed since 2010.

The above figures demonstrate the confidence of project sponsors and financiers in the wind power sector of Greece in spite of the limited funding that was available during the same period, as a result of limited liquidity in the domestic banking sector, and regardless of the so-called ‘new deal for renewables’ of April 2014 that resulted in slightly reduced feed-in tariffs for both existing (operating) and new wind parks being applicable under power purchase agreements (PPAs).

This ‘new deal’ was deemed necessary in order to effectively address the significant deficit of LAGIE’s (the energy market operator) special account for renewables, where all the PPAs for renewables are paid. In March 2014 this deficit still amounted to € 500 million. It has now been reduced to €55 million and it is expected to be eliminated by the end of 2015. Furthermore, according to market intelligence, there are no obvious signs of financial distress for operating wind parks in Greece and internal rates of return (IRR) remain reasonable for all wind parks even after this ‘new deal’.

The 2020 national targets for renewables under the EU Renewables Directive 2009/28/EC translate, for wind power alone, into 7.5GW of projected wind power capacity under the National Renewable Energy Action Plan of 2010. An estimated investment of €7 billion is required to this end.

The anticipated financial assistance of €86 billion from the European Stability Mechanism from July 2015 to July 2018 and the parallel mobilisation by the European Commission (EC) of more than €35 billion from the EU budget up to 2020, combined with required structural reforms, should reverse economic conditions in the country and hence improve the investment climate and available funding for wind power in Greece.

However, Greece has yet to propose a market-based revised national support scheme for renewables, especially for new wind power installations after 2016, in compliance with the new EC Guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy for 2014-2020. This revised scheme is expected to be finalised shortly and rolled out by January 2016.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dimitris Assimakis is partner at global legal practice, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Minas Kitsilis is senior associate of the company and based in Athens.

FURTHER INFORMATION

http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com

 

Posted 02/09/2015 by Libi Israeli

Tagged under: Wind energy , wind market , Greece

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