The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change issued yesterday the draft law setting the legal framework for the utilization of Greece’s solar energy potential and the export of the produced energy to other European countries, called Project Helios. According to the recent commitments within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality part of Project Helios revenues will be used to pay the Greek public debt.

The Project Helios provides for the installation of photovoltaic parks in state-owned land across Greece of a total surface of 20.000 sq.m. and the transfer of the energy abroad. The energy transmission will be achieved either through the physical transfer of energy via intra-European networks, or through the statistical transfer of energy based on interstate agreements within the framework of Directive 2009/28/EC. A combined method of the above two is also considered.

The draft law provides also for the establishment of a company named ‘Project HELIOS S.A.’ having as sole shareholder the Greek State, and entrusted with the promotion and implementation of the Project Helios. The ‘Project HELIOS S.A.’ will undertake the management of the stated-owned land, the licensing, study and construction of the photovoltaic parks, as well as the development of the necessary infrastructure and inter-connections both in national and European level.

The ‘Project HELIOS S.A.’ has the right to proceed to the conclusion of contracts with strategic investors, and assign or grant to third parties the implementation of the above activities via fast-track procedures.

As regards the connection of the photovoltaic parks to the grid, the draft law sets out that a special contract between the producer company and the competent System Operator for a 25 year term will be signed instead of the standard Power Purchase Agreement provided by the current legal framework (Law 3468/2006). The content of the abovementioned special contract will be adjusted according to the type of transmission, either physical or statistical.

Moreover, the abovementioned draft law completes the transposition of Directive 2009/28/EC with regard to the promotion of the use of energy produced by renewable energy sources, regulating inter alia the cooperation mechanisms between Member States for the energy transmission of the related produced energy. The said mechanisms are established for the achievement of the national targets regarding the RES penetration in the final energy consumption (for further info on the cooperation mechanisms provided by Directive 2009/28/EC see our article posted on January 12th, 2012).

The draft law was submitted for discussion before the Council of Ministers and is expected to be put on public consultation prior to its final submission to the Greek Parliament.

(The translation of the draft law in English is available by us upon specific request.)

Edited by: Tina Koutsopoulou