Deadlock in Greece

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A flurry of licensing activity is keeping up hopes for developers caught in the deadlock in Greece, but actual construction of new wind plant in 2002 amounted to only 36 MW. This brought Greece's online wind capacity to 308 MW.

The Energy Regulatory Authority (RAE) granted a "positive recommendation" for 679 MW of wind projects last year, according to Ioannis Tsipouridis of the Greek wind energy association. A positive signal is usually followed by a building licence from the development minister. This recent round of permits follows 1159 MW of project licenses granted in 2001 by the ministry, most of these for mid and western Greece where the grid can cope with new wind plant -- avoiding the popular parts of Evia, Thrace and Peloponnisos where major grid extensions will be required before any new plant can be connected.

Lack of available grid space in the windiest areas and tangled bureaucracy have burdened Greek wind development the last few years. Work is expected to be slow for the next year or two, but a rush is anticipated before 2006, when the current government framework support for wind runs out. "The situation here hasn't changed much," says Tsipouridis. "The obstacles to wind energy development have not vanished, but we don't give up. Sooner or later wind energy will take off. I just hope I will be around to see it."

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