First private wind farm in Greece

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The first privately developed wind farm in Greece -- and the country's largest at 10.2 MW -- is now operational. The 17 wind turbines which make up the Modi wind farm at Sitia on Crete were inaugurated in a ceremony that attracted more than 400 guests, including the country's Minister of Development, Vaso Papandreou, who officially started the project. The turbines, rated at 600 kW, were supplied by Bonus of Denmark and are sited on a windy plateau 400 metres above sea level.

The project's developer is Rokas Aeoliki SA, a subsidiary of C. Rokas SA, one of Greece's largest construction companies in the field of electromechanical engineering. Three years of preparation went into the development, with Rokas blazing a trail through Greek bureaucracy to win a 40% subsidy and a power purchase contract. Modi wind farm is the first to be developed by the private sector since Greece passed a law in 1994 obliging its Public Power Corporation (PPC) to buy electricity from renewable energy sources at a fixed premium rate.

Having blasted one project through the system, Rokas says it has plans for a further 100 MW of wind farms in Greece over the next five years for which it has already identified sites and obtained land leases. Civil works have started for the next project, a 24 MW wind farm on the island of Evia, which should be completed in just over a year. Rokas is currently discussing financing arrangements with international investment institutions.

Negotiations with PPC were the most difficult stage of the Modi wind farm development, says Rokas, which is clearly bitter over the stumbling blocks it says the utility put in the way. "Rokas Aeoliki had to overcome all the technical obstacles mentioned by the PPC," says the company's George Spyrou. These included a series of demands for grid maintenance and production monitoring.

A new 20 kV line was needed over 11 kilometres as well as a transformer in the Sitia town substation. C. Rokas made the turbine towers, which are ten tonnes heavier than normal -- a special design was needed for high seismic areas such as Crete. The Modi wind farm provides enough power to meet the annual demand of 8000 homes, says Rokas.

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