In 2009, 87 wind turbines were installed in Greece

During 2009, there were only a small number of wind farm installations because of the delay of the license procedures, which is still a major barrier on the development of renewable energy sources in Greece.

In 2009, 87 wind turbines were installed, increasing the total installed power from 993 MW in 2008 to 1,109.04 MW. The new Greek government, which was elected in October 2009, has acknowledged the importance of renewable energy sources and set new national policy for their development.

In this regard, a new law has been proposed and is under elaboration, with the main goal to simplify and accelerate the licensing procedures. Regarding R, D&D, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climatic Change continues to support and promote all renewable energy activities in the country. New projects regarding offshore wind farms and wind desalination will come into force.

The Greek government sets as a binding national target the 20% contribution of RES to gross electricity consumption, by 2020. The new government proposed and set under public consultation a new law for the acceleration of RES development. The proposed law aims to accelerate licensing procedures and to reduce administrative burdens on the renewable energy sector.

The new law promotes the development of offshore wind parks and provides priorities regarding the license procedure of RES projects combined with desalination for the production of potable water or other water use. Moreover, the law introduces discounts in the electricity bills of local communities and a different tariff regime for new RES installations (except for photovoltaic and solar thermal plants).

It provides a 20% higher tariff to those investors that will consider not using state subsidies for the development of the RES system. Additionally, an important issue in this law is the implementation of a Strategic Plan for Islands Interconnections by ceasing the operation of the local conventional plants and minimizing local pollution.

According to the new law, an individual Entity for the Service of Investors on RES projects under the standards of “one-stop service” (one-stop-shop) will be established.

Finally, the proposed new law suggests more beneficial feed-in-tariffs for wind energy. For wind farm projects of more than 50 kW, it provides a feed-in tariff of 87.85 €/MWh for the interconnected areas and 99.45 €/MWh for the non- interconnected islands. For wind power projects of less than 50 kW, it proposes a feed-in-tariff of 250 €/MWh. The new law will come into force in 2010.

The progress in wind power capacity has been slow compared with other European countries. In 2009, the installed capacity reached 1,109 MW, showing an increase over the previous year of 12%. In 11 separate wind farm projects, a total of 87 wind energy conversion systems, with an installed capacity of approximately 115 MW, were connected to the electricity supply network.

The energy produced from wind turbines during 2009 was approximately 2,550 GWh, and corresponds to 4.4% of the national electric demand. 

Financial support for RES projects are provided by the state in the framework of the Operational Program for Competitiveness (OPC), 2000-2006 and the Law for Development 3299/04 as amended with Article 37 of Law 3522/2006. In 2008, the Greek Ministry of Economy and Finance announced a new program entitled National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), 2007-2013, which is the continuation of the OPC. The NSDP raises resources from the Fourth Framework Programme to reinforce the investment activities of the private sector and strengthen the productive potential of the country.

The Law for Development 3299/2004, as amended with Article 37 of Law 3522/2006 provides grants of up to 40% of the total investment. A new Law for Development is expected to be issued the first half of 2010.

Wind energy represents an enormous opportunity to attract foreign investments into Greece and is also a challenge for the country’s business world. In the last decade, interest has increased among, mainly, construction companies and individual investors for wind energy-related projects.

Wind energy deployment has become a challenging area for development all over the country – especially in areas having poor infrastructure, in which some of the most promising sites for wind energy development can be found. Although manufacturing of wind turbines has not been established in Greece, there is considerable domestic added value in connection with infrastructure works, for example, grid strengthening, tower manufacturing, road and foundation construction, civil engineering works, and so on. In addition, new jobs are created related to maintenance and operation of the wind farms in mainly underdeveloped areas.
An expanding network of highly experienced engineering firms has been created and is currently working on all phases of the development of new wind energy projects.

A significant share of the wind farm projects is owned by six important construction companies. Small investors are active as well, however most of the time, the ownership structure is not known. No significant domestic manufacturing developments occurred in 2009 apart from the continuing involvement of the Greek steel industry in wind turbine tower manufacturing.

During 2008 and 2009, two wind desalination plants were installed and began operation in the islands of Milos and Symi. Both projects were financed by the Operational Programme for Competitiveness, Measure 6.3 of the Greek Ministry of Development (now called Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climatic Change). The Milos project has 850 kW of grid-connected wind turbines to cover the energy consumed by a Reverse Osmosis (RO) unit for seawater desalination.

In 2009, the unit increased its capacity from 2,000 m3/day to 3,600 m3/day of potable water. This production is sufficient to cover the water needs of the island.

The second project has an autonomous Mechanical Vapor Compression (MVC) seawater desalination unit in combination with a wind turbine of 800 kW nominal power. The desalination plant has a yearly production capacity of 90,000 m3 of high purity water. 

During 2009, four large wind farms were installed, having capacities in the range of 18 MW to 28 MW each. The average capacity of the wind turbines installed in 2009 was 1,330 kW, while the average capacity of all the wind turbines operating in the country was 873 kW. No major events leading to extensive wind farm outages have been reported. The malfunctions reported are mainly related to gearbox failure and lightning strikes.

The total cost of wind power projects depends on the wind turbine type, project size, and site accessibility. This cost ranges from 1,100 to 1,400 €/kW and is mainly influenced by international market prices and interconnection costs.

The cost of generated wind power could be assumed to be between 0.026 and 0.047 €/kWh, depending on the wind farm site and project cost. The typical interest rate for financing wind energy projects is 7% to 8%.

Key areas of R&D in the field of wind energy in Greece are wind assessment and characterization, standards and certification, wind turbine development, aerodynamics, structural loads, blade development, noise, power quality, wind desalination, and autonomous power system integration. The main actors in this field are the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES), the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), and the University of Patras.

Among the above mentioned organizations there is strong and long-standing collaboration for national and EU projects for the development and optimization of wind energy technology.

The new law for the acceleration of RES deployment will accelerate the license procedure and will allow the development of new wind farms. It is expected that focus on wind energy and other RES will continue with emphasis on the projected new offshore wind farm projects. The provision of available sites for the development of offshore wind farms will begin a new opening of the wind energy market.

Concerning the use of wind energy for water production through desalination, the announcement of several support programs, (small projects for the private sector; small hotels, resorts, etc., and large projects for Municipalities of the islands) are expected within the coming year.

With the implementation of the new law for the acceleration of RES and with the coming financial support programs, the Greek government will lay the foundation for the fulfillment of the national RES objectives.

Authors: Kyriakos Rossis, Eftihia Tzen; CRES, Greece,