Greece announces first wind auction results

GREECE: The Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) has awarded 20-year contracts to sell electricity produced by seven projects successful in its first wind auction.

In May, Greece announced plans to auction 2.6GW of renewable capacity by 2020

Successful bids ranged between €68.18/MWh and €71.93/MWh and the weighted average was €69.53/MWh, it stated.

The RAE had set a ceiling price of €90/MWh and stipulated site capacities should be between 3MW and 50MW.

There was 176MW of capacity available, in the wind auction, but the RAE awarded contracts to nearly 171MW. This was because the RAE defined the capacity to be awarded (176MW) by dividing the total capacity of the applications (308MW) by 1.75 in order to "secure competition", according to the Hellenic Wind Energy Association (HWEA).

Four of the seven successful projects are to be located in northern Greece (Macedonia and Thrace), two in Central Greece (Sterea Ellada) and one on the island of Andros.

Greece announced plans in May to auction 2.6GW of renewable capacity by 2020.

Portuguese developer EDP Renováveis was awarded a 44.625MW wind farm to be located in central Greece – its first in the country and the largest project to win capacity. It expects the Livadi site to be operational in 2020.

Elsewhere, Spanish utility Iberdrola won capacity for its 16MW Pyrgari wind farm, also to be located in central Greece.

Meanwhile, four Greek developers were awarded the remaining five contracts: Pavlidis for 12MW and 24MW, Ventavel for 34MW, Ellaktor for 28.8MW and PPC Renewables for 11.5MW.

Greece currently has just over 2.65GW of installed wind capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

The wind tender took place alongside an auction for solar PV projects with capacities between 1MW and 20MW. The RAE had set a price ceiling for solar of €80/MWh for 53.4MW of projects

In total, eight projects were awarded just over 52.9MW of capacity of between €62.97/MWh and €71/MWh, with a weighted average of €63.91/MWh. 

Trade bodies WindEurope and the HWEA welcomed the auction results, adding they show increased confidence in the market following years of financial struggles. 

The HWEA's CEO Panagiotis Papastamatiou, said: "It seems that the industry if regaining confidence in the Greek market and anticipates cost reductions in the short-term when these projects will achieve financial closing and contracting."

He added: "I think that the main reason for the reduction in relation to the ceiling price (€90/MWh) is that the ceiling price set did not reflect the actual LCOE (levelised cost of energy) expected in the short-term in Greece.

"Within the last year, WTG prices have dropped significantly in Greece. This, in combination with the increased productivity of the new products, has driven the production cost down by 30% in comparison with the existing or under-construction wind projects.

"This trend has also been boosted by the reduction of the cost of capital in general in Greece and by the strong participation in the auction of two big international players that have access to cheaper financing.

"Finally it seems that some of the selected projects have excellent wind regime."

Meanwhile, Wind Europe chief policy offier Pierre Tardieu, said: "It’s very good to see Greece has implemented an auction system. The prices for wind are lower than expected, which shows the industry is regaining confidence in the Greek market and anticipates costs reductions in the short term when these projects will achieve financial closing and contracting.

"It also shows wind should play a significant role in decarbonising Greece’s energy system. These projects will unlock new investments in the Greek economy and create jobs in the supply chain.

"But Greece is not there yet. Wind deployment can get even cheaper and Greece can benefit even further from recent major progress in wind technology. For this, improvements need to be made to lower the risks and costs of capital.

"We need to see clarity on renewables spatial planning, plus further visibility on wind deployment volumes, particularly post-2020.

"We call on the Greek Government to include ambitious commitments on wind – onshore and offshore – in its national energy & climate plan that it will need to submit by the end of 2019." 

Papastamatiou agreed that more could be done to lower prices of wind deployment in Greece, and called for clarity on renewables spatial planning, as well further visibility on wind deployment volumes, particularly post-2020.

He added that "lowering the tax costs, simplifying the licensing procedures, establishing an effective and well operating electricity market, making more effective the general business and macroeconomic environment and the banking sector" would also lead to cost reductions.