In July 2021, Law 4819/2021 (Government Gazette A’ 129/23.7.2021) entitled “Integrated framework for waste management – Transposition of Directives 2018/851 and 2018/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste and Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste, framework for the organization of the Hellenic Recycling Organization, provisions for plastic products, urgent provisions for the protection of the natural environment, spatial-urban planning and energy regulations’’, entered into force.

The newly enacted Law introduces, amongst others, significant provisions relating to the operation of the Greek energy market. In particular, chapter G (articles 128 to 147) stipulates the following:

* In article 130, the Law states that the application and issuance of production licenses, environmental permits and connection terms offers to the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) will be suspended for RES units combining energy storage projects until 31.12.2021.

It should be noted that under the current legislative framework, these units were considered as electric power generation systems and the evaluation of the energy storage production licenses already granted by RAE, was based on the provisions of Law 4001/2011 (Government Gazette A’179) and the “Regulation of Electricity Generation and Supply Licenses” (Government Gazette B’ 1498 /8.12.2000). However, following the submission of an energy storage policy plan delivered by the competent Ministry committee established for that purpose (Ministerial Decision 118233/4341/8.12.2020), it is estimated that a new regulatory framework for RES storage units will be soon adopted.

* Under article 132, the access to saturated network is regulated, by enabling natural or legal persons to submit only one application for final connection terms offer for the installation of PV stations up to 400 kW, as a matter of priority and by way of derogation from the provisions of the saturated network legislation.

* In article 136, it is foreseen that, by virtue of a ministerial decision issued by the Minister of Environment and Energy, a detailed framework providing a special prioritization in granting final connection terms offers for RES and CCHP units either by the network operator (HEDNO) or the system operator (IPTO), will be defined. The ministerial decision shall provide for the terms, conditions, and restrictions for certain categories of RES units that are being granted priority as well as the time margins within which the network/system operator is obliged to grant a non-binding connection terms offer, following the submission of the relevant request.

* Article 137 stipulates that RES investors applying for a Producer’s Certificate or a Special Project Certificate, are obliged to submit to RAE, a letter of guarantee equal to 35,000 euros per MW, as an integral part of the application process.

The obligation to submit a letter of guarantee applies also to Producer Certificates or Special Project Certificates which have been issued before the entry into force of this Law or will be issued until 28.02.2022 and for which a request for a final connection terms offer will not have been submitted until 28.02.2022. The holders of such certificates should submit the letter of guarantee until 28.02.2022, otherwise their production certificates will be invalidated.

The said provision also sets exceptions from the abovementioned obligation for specific categories of RES stations, including a) stations with a maximum production capacity of less or equal to 1 MW, b) stations that are included in the “Strategic Investments” scheme of Law 3894/2010 and Law 4608/2019 before the enactment of this Law, and c) stations developed by local authorities, municipalities as well as legal entities whether governed by public or by private law for public benefit purposes, but excluding energy communities.

At present, the demanding nature of the abovementioned obligation, has already caused a significant reduction to the number of applications submitted for the issuance of a Producer’s Certificate. This is reflected in October’s application round (during which the obligation applied for the first time) and where the number of the submitted applications was substantially lower, compared to the previous application rounds of June 2021.

Edited by Dafni Sotirchou