"We originally bid to develop about 20 MW," says Energiekontor's Jürgen Hepper. Now it must recalculate financing, taking into account the different economics of the much smaller project. "Possibly the project can do without a new transformer station. We are investigating this," Hepper says. Its wind plant is to be built on a 600 metre ridge on the extensive property of the Epanosifi monastery. Another option to reduce costs is for some of the successful bidders to combine their projects.
The invitation for bids replaced a previous practice on Crete where a list was drawn up of applicants on a first come, first served basis after minimum payments for wind generated electricity were introduced in 1994, says Georgios Theodorakis of Hellenic Energiekontor in Athens. The goal, set in 1995, is for wind to contribute 30% of the peak demand on island electricity networks. Following complaints to the Greek government and the EU Commission of unfair practice, the priority list was scrapped in August 1999 and the Crete authorities issued the tender in autumn 2000.
Crete has a peak summer demand of 350-400 MW, but only about one-third of this can be supplied by wind energy for reasons of grid stability. The island currently has 60 MW of operating wind plant. The wind tariff on Greek islands is GRD 24/kWh, higher than the GRD 19/kWh on the mainland. Capital subsidies of 40% are also available, says Theodorakis. "The chances of success for grant applications are quite good," he adds.
Of the 12 other successful bidders, most come from the ranks of Greek industry and include metal company Rokas -- the largest wind developer in Greece with some 110 MW installed so far -- two construction companies, a plastics manufacturer, a mechanical engineering company, a waste water disposal firm and a local authority building company. Aside from Energiekontor, just three established wind companies are represented among the developers -- Umweltkontor of Germany, American Enron Wind and NEG Micon of Denmark.