The legislation governing offshore wind in Greece up to the present time, has been based mainly on Law 3468/2006 and Law 3851/2010. A new legal framework for offshore wind development is currently being formed. It is estimated that, if successful, the creation of offshore wind farms in Greece could contribute decisively, in achieving the EU’s goals, as integrated in the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).
In order for the Greek State to attain these objectives, through the creation of a regulatory framework, there are several challenges to be addressed, that can be briefly summarized as follows:
* Challenges regarding the allocation of sea area
* Licensing Constraints
* Political- geostrategic constraints
* Grid connection rights and grid connection works issues
* Undefined remuneration scheme
A useful tool to tackle these challenges and conclude to the right model for offshore wind development in Greece, might be examining equivalent models used by other European countries. There are mainly three models governing offshore wind projects in Europe (Centralized model, Intermediary model, Decentralized model).
The one common ground in all these models- that must be outlined- is that, independently from who is responsible for the specification of projects (State or developers), the prerequisite for the launching of a competition procedure is the spatial designation of zones in the sea, where the necessary amounts of offshore wind farm capacity will be installed.
One applicable model for the Greek case might be the Intermediary model, which combines characteristics of both the centralized and the decentralized model. Following the example of France, which applies an intermediate model with more proportions to the “decentralized” model, the procedure applied by the Greek authorities could involve: the selection of wider marine areas suitable for offshore wind farms by the Greek State and then, through a screening process involving a discussion with the industry and the local community, the determination of the final location for which compensation is being tendered.
Another feasible scenario for Greece could be utilizing the existing legal framework for offshore hydrocarbon licensing as a guide for the establishment of a respective set of rules for offshore wind farms. Under this scope, suitable sea blocks would be located in the Aegean and Ionian -which must neither trespass Natura environmental protection areas nor interfere with shipping and fishing zones – following their offer to investors through tenders.
An open-door procedure or staging of tenders following official expressions of interest by investors for specific areas, as is the case with the hydrocarbon sector, could also be adopted.
Another suitable contractual instrument for offshore wind promotion in Greece might be the use of “contracts for difference” or CfDs. Under these contracts, the companies interested in constructing wind farms in Greece, would bid in the auctions by stating the price at which they will sell the energy they produce to the State. If a company’s bid is higher than the wholesale electricity price on the Greek market once the wind farm is up and running, then the company will receive a subsidy from the State to top up the price. However, if the stated price is less than the wholesale price, then the company will pay the State back the difference.
In accordance with any effective model that will be applied in the case of Greece, other key requirements for the development of OWF in the Greek State include:
* Screening for exclusion zones (marine traffic, sensitive areas) meaning that the Greek State needs to examine which areas are preliminarily excluded
* Examination of the possible revision of the renewable spatial planning by incorporating offshore wind in the spatial planning
* Amelioration of the current poor infrastructure of the Greek ports, so that the unique requirements of offshore wind can be met
* Early engagement of the HTSO (Hellenic Transmission System Operator) for developing underwater transmission infrastructure
* Undertaking pilot auction for large scale commercial projects. These auctions could start immediately, in the sense that there is already a legal framework for RES, offering a great opportunity to the Greek State to “build” the supply chain for the pilot projects (ports, cables towers etc.), that fits the Mediterranean and if successful, then expand this formula to a practical base
Edited by Dafni Sotirchou