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Greece

Greece

New minister keen to sort out problems -- Greece's new optimism

Greek wind turbine installations continued at a steady pace last year, despite continuing obstacles in licensing procedures and grid congestion. With most of the growth coming from Rokas Wind -- a division of the big Greek infrastructure concern Arcadia Metal Industry C. Rokas SA -- a total of 95 MW was installed, two-thirds of this on Thrace (tables). Another 1300 MW of projects have their installation licenses, but there is no grid to support them. Beyond this, an additional 4500 MW has been granted initial production licences, the first step in granting approval to build new wind plant.

According to Ioannis Tsipouridis of the Greek wind energy association, the wind sector is optimistic that something is finally moving to help ease the time consuming licensing procedures. "The new deputy minister in charge of renewables is keen to sort out the situation," says Tsipouridis. "His team has already started work and he has signed ministerial decisions that solved long standing licensing problems. We are all in expectation of the minister's promise to submit new legislation that will simplify and harmonise the tedious and time consuming licensing procedure." In addition, he says, some grid construction work is planned and hopes are high that these begin on time. "If all these happen -- and we have every reason to believe that they will -- then the next few years will be very productive," he says. The country has set a target of 2000 MW wind by 2010.

The entry into Greek wind power of Spanish utility Iberdrola -- the largest operator of wind plant in Spain -- is meantime set to change the profile of the Greek industry. Rokas, the biggest wind producer in Greece, entered into a strategic alliance with in Iberdrola in December. The Spanish company bought 49.9% of Rokas for about EUR 85 million (Windpower Monthly, January 2005).

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