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Clocks forward March 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy, Greece News.
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Clocks will go forward one hour tomorrow morning as summertime begins.

The time will change at 3 a.m. on Sunday, when clocks will go forward to 4 a.m.

Earth Hour March 29, 2008

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The lights will be turned off at Athens’ City Hall and on Lycabettus Hill for an hour from 8 p.m. today as part of a worldwide energy-saving initiative, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said yesterday.

The Earth Hour scheme aims to get people to switch off their lights for an hour.


Will Greece warm to renewable energy? March 22, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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Wind power generators in Greece currently produce 746 megawatts, while a further 1,600 MW are presently under development > Renewable energy generation in Greece is still at low levels, despite the country’s excellent potential, according to a survey by Kantor Management Consultants SA.

Wind power accounts for the largest share of renewable energy in Greece (excluding the major hydroelectric plants operated by the Public Power Corporation), with a wind generator capacity amounting to 746 megawatts (end 2006 data).

The domestic wind power market is operated by only a few but large groups which have the necessary expertise and capital. Some of the major players include Rokas-Iberdrola, Kopelouzos-ENEL, PPC Renewable-EDF and Terna. Currently under development are another 600 MW by Terna and 1,000 MW by Kopelouzos.

European Union targets are to double the gross primary energy generation from renewable sources to 12 percent of total production in 2010 and to 20 percent in 2020. But this target would be hard for Greece to achieve under current conditions, as it would require the country to almost double its renewable energy generation in just three years.

The main reasons for Greece’s lower-than-expected penetration into renewable energy sources, according to Kantor’s survey, include complex and time-consuming licensing procedures, network and connection problems, ineffective incentives and the lack of a comprehensive town-planning program for development of energy production regions.

Despite having incorporated EU directives, Greek legislation provides a rather vague framework. In addition, subsidies for renewable energy investments are excessively high.

For instance, photovoltaic systems in Greece are subsidized up to 45 percent of the required amount, and this, Kantor says, has invited oversupply in small-scale projects, which are not capable of creating the required impetus for a shift to large-scale photovoltaic development.

To speed up the penetration of renewable energy in the country’s energy balance, Kantor believes that policy should revolve around the following main axes: the reduction of subsidies for small-scale investments and the channeling of funds to larger-scale renewable energy projects; the designation and, where appropriate, expropriation of expanses of land to be used for renewable energy installations; plus the better organization of licensing and town-planning procedures.

Italy’s Enel to build power plant in Greece March 2, 2008

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Italy’s Enel SpA has won a bid to build a 447 megawatt power plant in Greece, the Greek state transmission system operator said Thursday.

The license for the gas-fired plant is the first issued by the Hellenic Transmission System Operator, under a complex guarantee system aimed at bringing new investment into the Greek power market.

The cost of the project was not announced. Enel has said it proposes to invest between €500 million ($756 million) and €1 billion ($1.5 billion) in Greece until 2011.

Greece’s Motor Oil expands Corinth refinery February 26, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Energy.
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Motor Oil (Hellas) Corinth SA is expanding its 110,000 b/d refinery in Corinth about 70 km from Athens.

The company let contract to Technip for engineering, procurement, and construction management of a 60,000 b/d crude oil distillation unit to be operational early in 2010. It estimates the investment at €180 million.

The expansion follows an upgrade centered on the addition of a 37,000-b/d mild hydrocracker brought on stream in November 2005. In that project Motor Oil also added a 32,000-b/d gas oil desulfurization unit and a 65,000-cu m/hr hydrogen production unit. The new unit will expand the total capacity of the refinery to more than 170,000 bpd.

Solar power sector looks set to shine February 25, 2008

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Solar power sector looks set to shine despite financing difficulties from credit crunch > Demand from institutional investors for large-scale renewable portfolios remains strong, now reaching into new markets, such as Greece. 

Solar power will be a bright investment prospect, as the appetite for green energy grows, even though the global credit crisis is making banks more wary of providing financing. In the short term, the sector will also have to contend with a shortage of silicon, a key ingredient for solar cells that turn sunlight into electricity, and possible changes in political support as elections take place.

“This year will be a very volatile one,” said Sven Hansen, chief investment officer at clean technology investor Good Energies, which has about 7 billion Swiss francs ($6.38 billion) under management. “The industry will see fantastic growth, but it will be a bumpy ride in terms of how financial markets value photovoltaic companies.”

The number of new large-scale solar energy plants has been growing rapidly particularly in sun-drenched countries like Spain and Italy, but also in Germany and the United States, where regulatory conditions offer incentives and stable returns for investors. Conditions could change because of a presidential election in the United States and general elections in Spain in March. “Whether there are support programs in place has a strong impact on markets’ development,” Hansen said.

Growth is still expected to be strong, driven by increased interest from institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurers, which are seeking alternative stable and long-term opportunities. Experts also expect the silicon shortage to ease next year as silicon makers hike up capacity and production.

“Leverage ratios are more difficult, but we will ride out the storm. The business is not shut,” said Peter van Egmond Rossbach, director of investment at Impax Asset Management. The firm provides finance for renewable energy projects around the world and has $2 billion under management. Thirty percent is invested in solar, 40 percent in wind and the rest in other renewable energy projects, it said. “It just means that (project financing) is getting more expensive and we have to bridge with equity,” he added.

Tighter liquidity on global financial markets resulting from a crisis in the US subprime mortgage market last year has made banks more risk-averse. As a result, conditions have become tougher, pushing up interest payments for loans and other financing costs, which reduces the cashflow and leads to higher purchase prices for investors.

“We notice it in the purchase prices,” said Barbara Flesche, head of equity sales at Epuron, a project developer, which is fully owned by German solar group Conergy. Epuron develops, finances, develops and operates large-scale renewable energy projects, bringing together investors, banks and equipment producers. It has completed deals worth about 800 million euro ($1.18 billion) since 1998, it said.

Banks were less willing to provide high gearing for such major projects, which dampened investor hopes of a higher return on equity, Flesche said. But she added, “The risk for purchase prices is not something that’s hurting us dramatically – so far.”

Flesche said demand from institutional investors for such large-scale renewable portfolios was still strong and was now also reaching into new markets, such as Greece or Italy. “It will become more difficult to get bank financing, but not impossible,” Epuron’s Flesche said.

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) expects the global market to be five times bigger than it was in 2007 within the next five years. It said it expected annual installations to reach a 10.9-gigawatt peak by 2012 globally, up from a peak of about 2.2 gigawatts in 2007, adding that annual growth rates of well above 25 percent could be expected.

The European Energy Council has forecast that by 2010 about 1.6 percent of total energy generation will derive from photovoltaic sources, which compares to a share of 0.01 percent in 2003. By 2010 the council expects about 19 percent of generation will derive from renewables, 15 percent from nuclear and 66 percent from fossil sources.

PPC-RWE cooperation talks at an early stage November 12, 2007

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Cooperation talks between Public Power Corporation (PPC) and RWE AG, Germany’s second-largest utility, have a limited scope and are at an early stage, the Greek company said.

“Talks with RWE concern only specific projects,” PPC said in a filing to the stock exchange yesterday. “Confidential talks to sign a memorandum of cooperation are at an early stage, despite the progress that has been made,” the statement said.

PPC said on Thursday it had a cooperation agreement with RWE and declined to give further details. Under the plan, RWE would get 51 percent and manage all new units PPC plans to build in the future, a financial website had reported.