Greece

Greece

Greece waiting for grid fix

Take lots of wind plant developers. Put their applications, totalling more than 10,000 MW, into the "in" basket of the national regulatory energy authority. Tell them to take a seat and wait patiently. Do all these things and you have a picture of how the Greek wind power market looks now and in the future. Last year saw 62 MW of new wind capacity come on-line, bringing the total to about 272 MW. This was much less than what it could have been. Two major problems are keeping things on hold: grid problems in the best wind areas and poor licensing procedures.

Take lots and lots of wind plant developers. Put their applications, totalling more than 10,000 MW, into the "in" basket of the national regulatory energy authority. Tell them to please take a seat and wait. Watch them wait patiently. Do all these things and you have a picture of how the Greek wind power market looked in 2001, how it looks today, and how it will look for a few more years at least.

Last year saw 62 MW of new wind capacity come on-line, bringing the total to about 272 MW. This was much less than what it could have been, says Ioannis Tsipouridis of the Hellenic Wind Energy Association. "We're behind and we're not making up for lost ground."

Two major problems are keeping things on hold: grid problems in the best wind areas and poor licensing procedures. In the three places in Greece where winds are best and exploitable -- Evia, Thrace to the extreme north east and Peloponnisos peninsula -- the grids are either already booked to capacity or too weak to cope with new wind plant (Windpower Monthly, July 2001).

The Public Power Corp (PPC) of Greece, the state utility, is obliged to extend and improve the grids and Tsipouridis says it completed studies on how to go about it two years ago. Nothing has yet happened. PPC is known by many to be a "master of bureaucracy," he says, and it seems to be showing its skills on this issue. "Things happen haphazardly," Tsipouridis says. "They're always trying to patch up things and then move forward." He stresses that grid work takes at least three years to complete.

Licensing is the other big problem. Again, due to heavy bureaucracy and unclear procedures among ministries, applications can get trapped. A few projects have gone up in the last year. These are not in the three most coveted areas. Tsipouridis says similar projects will continue to be realised this year and next. "Development for the next two or three years will be as slow as up to now -- not more than 50-100 MW a year. This will be in areas in Greece that don't need grid work." After that a rush is anticipated before 2006, when the current government framework support for wind runs out. But, says Tsipouridis, investors are there. "And new ones are moving in. They believe in this story."

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