Alternative Energy & Power 2023

Last Updated July 20, 2023

Greece

Law and Practice

Authors



Koimtzoglou-Bakalis-Venieris-Leventis & Associates Law Partnership (KBVL) is the Greek member of the Deloitte Legal Network. The energy law practice group at KBVL brings on board a unique holistic perception and comprehensive knowledge of the applicable regulatory framework, forged by key members having served in senior positions at the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (“RAAEY”) and other European energy organisations. In addition to acting for high-end clients in major energy projects, the energy law practice group at KBVL provides support to newcomers, established energy companies, sponsors and lenders to assess corporate and commercial risks and opportunities regarding the development of energy infrastructure and renewable energy systems (RES) projects, including advising on corporate power purchase agreements, EPCs and O&M contracts, access to the grid issues, RES and storage systems’ auctions, and trade and supply requirements and contracts. The energy law practice group at KBVL works hand in hand with its banking and finance, and tax practice groups.

The principal law governing the structure and system of ownership of the power industry is Law 4001/2011 (G.G A’ 179/22.8.2011), which ensures effective unbundling between the generation, transmission, distribution and supply segments of the industry.

The Transmission Segment

The transmission segment of the power industry is organised under the “ownership unbundling model”, whereby the same person or persons is/are not entitled to exercise control over a producer or supplier and, at the same time, exercise control or any right over the transmission system operator. Conversely, exercising control over the transmission system operator precludes the possibility of exercising control or any right over a producer or supplier. In practice, two separate public bodies control generation and supply activities, on the one hand, and transmission activities, on the other.

The Distribution Segment

The distribution segment of the power industry is legally and functionally unbundled. In this regard, pursuant to the relevant legal provisions, the distribution operator must be independent, in terms of its legal form, organisation and decision-making, from other activities not relating to distribution.

Generation and Supply

The functions of generation and supply of power are fully liberalised and open to competition, with a multitude of state-owned and private investor-owned companies already active in these segments. 

The principal state-owned authorities and investor-owned companies in the Greek power industry are as follows.

The Waste, Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (“RAAEY”)

The Waste, Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (“RAAEY”) is the designated independent regulatory authority, established by Law 2773/1999 (G.G. A’ 286/22.12.2009), organised pursuant to Law 4001/2011 (G.G. A’ 179/22.8.2011), and functioning in accordance with Directive (EU) 2019/944.

The Public Power Corporation SA (PPC)

The Public Power Corporation SA (PPC) is the leading electricity generation and supply company in Greece. Its shareholder structure is the following: 34.12% state owned and 65.88% owned by private investors.

The Independent Power Transmission Operator SA (IPTO)

The Independent Power Transmission Operator SA (IPTO) is the owner and operator of the Hellenic Electricity Transmission System. The IPTO is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the Hellenic Electricity Transmission System, as well as for ensuring the country’s electricity supply is maintained in an adequate, safe and reliable manner. At wholesale level, the IPTO is also the operator of the balancing market. Since 20 June 2019, the IPTO has been organised under the “ownership unbundling model”. Its shareholder structure is the following: 66% state owned and 24% owned by the Chinese company State Grid Europe Limited.

The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator SΑ (HEDNO)

The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator SΑ (HEDNO) is the owner and operator of the national electricity distribution system. The HEDNO is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the electricity distribution network in mainland Greece and the transmission system, as well as the management of the electricity market in the non-interconnected islands. The HEDNO was established by the spin-off of the distribution department of the PPC, and since 1 May 2012, HEDNO has been legally and functionally unbundled. Its shareholder structure is the following: 51% owned by PPC and 49% owned by Macquarie Asset Management.

In general, foreign investors receive equal treatment to that afforded to nationals.

Greece is also a member of the Energy Charter Treaty granting investors non-discriminatory treatment, providing for compensation in case of expropriation and other losses, and enabling free transfer of capital.

International arbitration is available in Greece (Law 5016/2023 – G.G. A’ 21/04.02.2023).

Although the sale and purchase of power industry assets is not generally subject to specific constraints, and amalgamations or mergers in the power market follow the same rules (Law 4601/2019, G. G. A’ 44/9.3.2019), some minimum requirements would need to be satisfied regarding transactions involving power industry assets, depending on the nature of the project.

RES Projects

For normal renewable energy systems (RES) projects (photovoltaic and wind), notification needs to be submitted to the competent authority, RAAEY, within 15 days of any change in the owner’s shareholder structure.

In the case of special RES projects, their owners need to be able to prove technical expertise and financial robustness in order to be awarded a producer’s certificate. The same criteria (prescribed in detail in the producer’s certificate code) apply to any new owner of the project following any sale of the asset or business. 

Thermal Plants

As with special RES projects, the initial application for the award of a production licence, as well as any necessary amendment to the licence on account of any sale of the asset or business, must be based on the technical expertise and financial robustness of the owner of the facility.

State-Owned Assets

According to the Greek constitution, transactions of great financial value in which the Greek state or other legal entity equivalent to the Greek state is a contracting party, are subject to a preliminary review by the court of auditors to ensure compliance with the principles of transparency, equality, proportionality and fair competition.

The RAAEY is the competent authority, under Regulation (EU) 2019/941, for risk-preparedness in the electricity sector in Greece. The RAAEY is also responsible for approval of the Ten-Year Network Development Program (TYNDP), submitted by the IPTO on an annual basis, as well as for the adoption of effective measures to ensure system adequacy and security of supply in the country (Article 108 of L.4001/2011).

The IPTO is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the electricity transmission system and cross-border interconnections. The IPTO is also primarily responsible for system adequacy, and in this regard it prepares and submits the Capacity Adequacy Study on an annual basis for approval by the RAAEY. This study identifies possible risks related to the ability of the power system to adequately respond to the expected evolution of the demand for electricity.

Several legislative initiatives have considerably revised the regulatory framework applicable to the power industry, especially regarding the acceleration and simplification of the RES licensing process as well as the empowerment of energy consumers. In this regard, the key legal changes, by order of adoption of the corresponding legislative acts, are the following:

Law 4951/2022 (G.G. A’ 129/4.7.2022) under which:

  • the RES licensing process was streamlined (imposing strict deadlines) and became fully digitalised (adopting a common Information System);
  • the prioritisation framework for RES was completely revised (implemented through Ministerial Decision ΥΠΕΝ/ΓΔΕ/84014/7123, G.G. B’4333/12.08.2022, as amended and in force);
  • the general terms and conditions regarding the licensing process of energy storage systems were adopted for the first time; and
  • a pilot framework for floating photovoltaics in dedicated sea areas was introduced.

Law 4964/2022 (G.G. A’ 150/30.7.2022) under which:

  • the general legal framework for the development of offshore wind parks in Greece was introduced for the first time; and
  • a special RES levy was adopted (amounting to either 2 EUR/MWh or 3 EUR/MWh, depending on the specific characteristics of the RES project). 

Law 4986/2022 (G.G. A’ 204/28.10.2022) under which:

  • the notion of an active customer per Directive (EU) 944/2019 was established;
  • the provision of demand–response services was introduced in the energy legal framework; and
  • the general rules for the application of dynamic electricity price contracts were adopted.

Law 5037/2023 (G.G A’ 78/29.3.2023) under which:

  • the Regulatory Authority for Energy gained competence over the monitoring of the water and urban waste management services sectors;
  • two new types of energy communities (Renewable Energy Communities and Citizens’ Energy Communities) were established, abolishing the previously applicable regime (under Law 4513/2018); and
  • the scope of the net-metering scheme (including virtual net metering) became limited, whereas the renewables self-consumption regime (including collective self consumption) was expanded.

Among the new policies or initiatives that will result in material changes to the power industry, the following should be highlighted.

  • The revised National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) will provide for the development of a 2 MW offshore wind park by 2030 and a 17 MW offshore wind park by 2050.
  • Based on the EU hydrogen strategy (COM/2020/301), and in anticipation of the new Greek hydrogen strategy, the new NECP will include a revised target for the proportion of hydrogen in the final energy consumption from its current zero base to 5% in 2035, up to 7.7% by 2045, and 10% by 2050.
  • The concession of an underground natural gas storage facility (“UGS”) in the natural gas reservoir of South Kavala is also anticipated, according to the REPower EU plan.

Greece is among the most advanced markets for renewable projects development at global level. The Greek government has secured a state-aid clearance for the further uptake of RES (to be implemented through a two-sided Feed-in-Premium scheme for the period 2022–2025) and another one to support the construction and operation of energy storage systems (through three auctions taking place in 2023). It has also rolled out a solar-plus-storage scheme for residential and agricultural consumers with subsidies of up to 65% and it has allowed old operating wind turbines to be moved to isolated islands.

However, at the same time, the network operators have been granted the power, under specific conditions, to execute interruptible (instead of firm) connection agreements with RES and energy storage systems’ sponsors, and impose curtailments of up to 5% of the expected renewable production.   

Since 1 November 2020, the wholesale electricity market has been functioning in accordance with the European target model. Pursuant to Law 4425/2016 (G.G. A’ 185/30.09.2016), in conjunction with Law 4512/2018 (G.G. A’ 5/17.01.2018), four distinct markets have been established (abolishing the previous “common pool” system): 

  • the regulated Energy Derivatives Market, which offers trading on Futures with financial settlement of the transactions, while participants who are also participants in the Day-Ahead Market can benefit from an optional physical settlement of their monthly contracts;
  • the Day-Ahead Market (DAM) in which the participants submit orders to buy or sell electricity with the expectation of physical delivery the next day (participation in the DAM is obligatory for producers);
  • the Intra-Day Market (IDM) which allows participants to update their trading position as delivery time approaches (based on the Cross-Border Intraday or XBID model); and
  • the Balancing Market (BM) through which the TSO ensures, in a continuous way, the maintenance of system frequency and compliance with the number of reserves needed to sustain the required quality.

The Hellenic Energy Exchange (“HEnEx”) is the Nominated Electricity Market Operator (NEMO) for the Greek Bidding Zone, and it operates the Energy Derivatives Market, the DAM and the IDM for electricity. The IPTO is responsible for the BM. No capacity mechanism is currently in force.

Wholesale electricity prices are determined according to the competition between generators. The wholesale price settles at the rate proposed by the last power plant (ie, the marginal plant) activated to serve demand. However, in the light of the recent energy crisis, from 1 July 2022 until 30 September 2023, Greece has designed and implemented a Temporary Revenues Return Mechanism (Article 12Α of Law 4425/2016, G.G. A’ 185/30.09.2016), according to which market revenues (in the DAM and IDM) of producers and/or aggregators are capped and surplus finances measures have been taken in support of final electricity consumers. The cap has been stable for RES (85 EUR/MWh) and hydro greater than 15 MW (112 EUR/ΜWh), and variable for lignite and natural gas generators.

Greece’s electricity transmission interconnections are as follows:

  • the interconnection with Bulgaria with transmission capacity of 500–600 MW (an additional transmission line is expected to considerably increase the transmission capacity between the two countries);
  • two interconnections with North Macedonia with transmission capacity of 500–600 MW each;
  • the interconnection with Albania which consists of two lines with transmission capacity of 500–800 MW and 100 MW respectively;
  • the interconnection with Italy with transmission capacity of 500 MW; and
  • the interconnection with Turkey with transmission power capacity of 500–600 MW.

Imports and exports of electricity are permitted only to entities holding a trader’s licence issued by the RAAEY. For both EU (procured through the Joint Allocation Office) and third countries (procured through the Co-ordinated Auction Office in South-East Europe), physical transmission rights at the interconnections must also be acquired.

According to data supplied by the IPTO, the supply mix for 2022 was formed as follows:

  • RES – 39%;
  • natural gas – 35%;
  • lignite – 11%;
  • hydros – 8%; and
  • net imports        – 7%.

In Greece, Law 4389/2016 (G.G. A’ 94/27.5.2016) provided for the reduction of the PPC market share in the supply market to 50% or less until 2019 (through the implementation of a binding mechanism for the sale of forward products with physical deliveries). However, this target was never reached, and it was later abandoned in practice. 

According to the provisions of Law 4001/2011, the RAAEY conducts surveillance of the electricity market to detect anti-competitive behaviour and to undertake enforcement. The RAAEY also monitors the level of transparency, including in wholesale prices, in the context of REMIT Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011.

To this end, the RAAEY exercises powers (including the power to conduct investigations, compel the production of records and entry to property, the search and seizure of records, the conducting of interviews for the purpose of obtaining evidence, and prosecutorial powers) and co-operates with the Competition Commission (which is solely responsible for the implementation of the competition rules) and the Capital Market Commission (responsible for surveillance of the financial sector).

Financial penalties of up to 10% of the annual budget, as well as personal sanctions, may be imposed for infringements of the respective legal framework.

Greece is bound by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which is essentially a “cap and trade” system that is also mandatory for power generators.

Furthermore, pursuant to Climate Law 4936/2022 (G.G. A’ 105/27.05.2022):

  • greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be reduced by at least 55% in 2030 and by 80% in 2040, compared to 1990 levels;
  • the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation will be forbidden after 31 December 2028;
  • the use of mazut fuel oil for electricity production will be restricted after 1 January 2030 in the non-interconnected islands;
  • starting from 1 January 2024, at least one quarter of new private-use cars per company must be electric or hybrid-electric vehicles producing a maximum of 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (CO₂/km) in exhaust fumes;
  • all municipalities are required to adopt Municipal Emissions Reduction Schemes with a target of emissions reduction of 10% by 2025 and 30% by 2030;
  • the installation of oil heating boilers will be forbidden after 1 January 2025;
  • after 1 January 2030, only heating oil blended with at least 30% renewable liquid fuels will be allowed for sale in the market; and
  • building permits issued after 1 January 2023 will require the installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems to cover at least 30% of the electricity needs of the building.

According to the NECP, all lignite units will be withdrawn from operation until 2028, according to the timeline below, which shows the name of each lignite production unit and the year of withdrawal:

  • Kardia 1 – 2019;
  • Kardia 2 – 2019;
  • Κardia 3 – 2021;
  • Κardia 4 – 2021;
  • Agios Dimitrios 1 – 2022;
  • Agios Dimitrios 2       – 2022;
  • Agios Dimitrios 3       – 2022
  • Agios Dimitrios 4       – 2022;
  • Agios Dimitrios 5       – 2023;
  • Florina/Meliti – 2023;
  • Megalopoli 3 – 2022; and
  • Μegalopoli 4 – 2023.

On account of the recent energy crisis, by means of a Ministerial Decision, the lignite power plants Florina/Meliti and Agios Dimitrios 3 and 4 have not been withdrawn as originally planned. Also, under the updated NECP, the above dates are expected to be revised to postpone the withdrawal of some thermal plants until 2025 and 2028 at the latest.

Under the new NECP Greece, the revised target for RES penetration amounts to 28 MW by 2030 (compared to 19 GW under its current version) and 8 GW of energy storage systems. To encourage the further uptake of RES (and storage) the following support schemes have been adopted and/or are available to the project sponsors.

Feed-in-Premium Scheme for RES

Pursuant to Article 3 of Law 4414/2016 (G.G. Α’ 149/09.08.2016), as of 1 January 2016, RES and co-generation stations above a certain capacity (0.5 MW for PVs and 3 MW for wind parks) can only benefit from operational aid in the form of a two-sided Feed-in-Premium in their contracts with DAPEEP (public PPAs), abolishing the previously applicable system of Feed-in-Tariffs (which remains in force only for smaller PV and wind installations). The strike price is fixed, depending on the technology, and specifically for PV and wind parks it is the outcome of auctions conducted by the RAAEY based on a multi-year schedule decided by the Ministry of Energy. In the current auction period (2022–2025), eight auctions have already been conducted or scheduled for a total of 3 GW, as stipulated by the Ministerial Decision ΥΠΕΝ/ΔΑΠΕΕΚ/53607/1559 (G.G. B’ 3328/19.05.2023).

Energy Storage System Auctions

Pursuant to the Ministerial Decision ΥΠΕΝ/ΔΗΕ/55948/1087 (G.G. B’ 3416/20.05.2023), three auctions for the award of Operating and Investment Aid to Energy Storage Stations with a total capacity of up to 1 GW are expected to be organised before the end of 2023.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Greece 2.0)

Greece will receive EUR31 billion, of which EUR18.4 billion in grants and EUR12.7 billion in loans will be allocated to support the Greek economy. In this regard, RES projects, energy performance of buildings, waste management and high-efficiency co-generation plants are eligible for loans, while the biggest portion of the grants will be distributed under the “Green Transition” pillar. 

The New Development Law 4887/2022 (G.G. A’ 16/04.02.2022)

According to Article 40 of Law 4887/2022, investment projects may be eligible for funding for their costs allocated to energy production from RES, energy-efficiency measures, environmental protection, waste management and recycling, etc.

The principal laws that govern the construction and operation of generation facilities are as follows:

  • Law 3468/2006 (G.G. A’ 129/27.06.2006), as amended by Law 4685/2020 (G.G. A’ 92/07.05.2020) and Law 4951/2022 (G.G. A’ 129/4.7.2022) for RES and high-efficiency co-generation projects, and Law 4001/2011 for thermal generators;
  • Law 4014/2011 (G.G. A’ 92/07.05.2020), as in force, regarding environmental licensing in conjunction with the respective Ministerial Decision 1958/2012 (G.G. B’  21/13.1.2012) for the classification of public or private projects in categories and subcategories, as amended by Ministerial Decision YΠΕΝ/ΔΙΠΑ/1069/2022 (Β’ 841/24.02.2022);
  • Ministerial Decision No Δ6/Φ1/οικ.13310/18-6-2007 (G.G. Β’ 1153/18.06.2007) for the installation and operation of RES projects; and
  • Law 4495/2017 (G.G. A’ 167/3.11.2017), as in force, for the issuance of building permits.

The regulatory process for obtaining all the approvals necessary to construct and operate a commercial generation facility is as follows:

  • issuance of the producer’s certificate (for RES) and the production licence (for thermal stations) by the RAAEY, according to the provisions of the respective Licensing Code;
  • issuance of the environmental licence, according to the provisions of Law 4014/2011 (G.G. A’ 92/07.05.2020), as in force;
  • application for grid connection and execution of a grid connection agreement;   
  • issuance of the installation licence and the building permit; and
  • issuance of the operation licence, at the end of the trial period.

Throughout the licensing process, public participation is permitted and/or required, especially at the following two stages.

  • When applying for a producer’s certificate/production licence, the RAAEY allows any person with a legitimate interest the right to raise objections within 15 days of the publication of the summary of such application.
  • In the environmental licensing framework, the competent authority is obliged to conduct a public consultation to provide citizens, associations, organisations, public authorities, government or municipal and private undertakings with the opportunity to express their opinion about the realisation of a certain project in a specific area. The depth of the environmental review depends upon the nature and specific characteristics of each project (spanning from Category B to Categories A2 and A1).

The typical terms and conditions imposed in approvals to construct and operate a generation facility are related to safety and environmental protection issues; the technical characteristics of the project, including the grid connection specificities; and the maintenance and operation requirements for the station. Any amendment to the terms and conditions is a bureaucratic process that follows the specific steps stipulated in the respective secondary legislation.

Pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 7 of Article 4 of Law 4951/2022 (G.G. A’ 129/4.7.2022), in conjunction with the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 4 of Law 1468/1950 (G.G. A’ 169/2.8.1950) and paragraph 8 of Article 9 of Law 2941/2001 (G.G. A’ 201/12.09.2001), generation facilities are included among the projects considered “Projects of Public Interest”.

In this regard, the expropriation of real estate in favour of a generation facility is conducted in accordance with the provisions of Law 2882/2001 (G.G. A’ 17/ 6.2.2001) (the “Code of Expropriation”). The corresponding fee is determined by the judiciary.

However, the owners of generation facilities may resort to expropriations only after having exhausted all alternative legal options. In the case of PVs, in particular, expropriation of an area larger than 2% of the total polygon of the station is not permitted.

The standard obligation for the project sponsors to decommission a generation facility at the end of its physical or economic life depends on the nature of the generation facility. The obligation to decommission the facility in line with the instructions of the competent authorities, and to fully restore the environment, are included in either the Environmental Terms Approval (ETA) or the Standard Environmental Commitments (SEC).

Transmission lines are constructed and owned by the IPTO, the responsibilities of which have already been analysed in 1.2 Principal State-Owned or Investor-Owned Entities. (The only exception to this is the non-interconnected islands, where the system owner and operator is the HEDNO.) The principal Greek law governing the ownership, construction and operation of transmission lines and associated facilities is Law 4001/2011, and the law governing their environmental licensing is Law 4014/2011.

Unlike the normal licensing process for electricity projects, specifically for transmission lines, no installation or operation licence is required.

Overhead, underground and submarine electrical transmission lines with an operating voltage higher than 150 kV or which are longer than 20 km fall under Category A1 of the Ministerial Decision 1958/2012 (G.G. B’ 21/13.01.1958), and hence the submission of an environmental impact assessment is required for the ETA to be issued by the Minister of Energy.

For overhead, underground and submarine electrical transmission lines with an operating voltage higher than or equal to 50 kV and lower than or equal to 400 kV and which are shorter than or equal to 20 km, the submission of an environmental impact assessment is also required, but the relevant ETA is issued by the decentralised authority competent at the local level spanned by the transmission lines.

Throughout this process, public participation is also warranted by the provisions of Article 19 of Law 4014/2011 and Ministerial Decision 1649/45 (G.G. B’ 45/2014), and in compliance with Directive 85/337/EEC.

For the construction and operation of transmission lines and associated facilities, the ETA usually contains terms and conditions pertaining to:

  • the nature and size of the project;
  • the nature and features of its associated facilities, such as the necessary road construction works, the infrastructure supporting the connection to the electrical pylons, etc;
  • the public interest purpose it serves;
  • the applicable legal framework related to protection against electromagnetic radiation; and
  • the application of remedial or preventative measures and actions to monitor and preserve the environment.

Also see 6.3 Terms and Conditions Imposed in Approvals for the Construction and Operation of Electricity Distribution Facilities.

According to the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 4 of Law 1468/1950 (G.G. A’ 169/2.8.1950) and paragraph 8 of Article 9 of Law 2941/2001 (G.G. A’ 201/12.09.2001), transmission lines are considered to be “projects of public interest”.

The expropriation of real estate in favour of the construction and operation of a transmission line is conducted in accordance with the provisions of Law 2882/2001 (the “Code of Expropriation”). The quantum of compensation is determined by the judiciary.

Pursuant to the provisions of Law 4001/2011 (G.G. A’ 179/22.8.2011), Articles 96–113, the IPTO has monopoly rights to provide transmission services throughout the country.

According to the Grid Code, the Transmission Use of System Charges (TUoS) reflects the recovery of the required revenue of the IPTO, as the latter is calculated on an annual basis by the RAAEY. The TUoS must be cost effective, simple and clear, and provide adequate financial signals so that users can adapt their consumption patterns to the most efficient use of the system.

The transmission services are provided on an open-access and non-discriminatory basis, either to transmit electricity from a generator or receive electricity supply, in accordance with and following the registration process stipulated in the Grid Code (G.G. B’ 3426/4.7.2022). The RAAEY is the competent authority to monitor the correct application of the respective provisions, including the adoption of the methodology for the determination and final approval of the TUoS (see RAAEY Decisions 492/2021 and 1001/2021).

According to Article 122 of Law 4001/2011 (G.G. A’ 179/22.8.2011), the construction and operation of electricity distribution facilities, as part of the Greek distribution network, is attributed to the HEDNO.

Greek legislation (Article 131A of Law 4001/2011) also provides for the construction and operation of distribution facilities, on the prior approval of the RAAEY, spanning a geographically limited industrial, commercial or public area, and provided that in general they are not used to supply domestic consumers (Closed Distribution Systems).

Refer to 4.2 Obtaining Approvals for the Construction and Operation of Generation Facilities and 5.2 Obtaining Approvals for the Construction and Operation of Transmission Lines and Associated Facilities.

See 5.3 Terms and Conditions Imposed in Approvals for the Construction and Operation of a Transmission Line and Associated Facilities.

In addition, the main terms and conditions for the operation of distribution networks are set out in the Network Code, according to which the network operator must: 

  • grant access to all users on a non-discriminatory basis;
  • develop, maintain and operate the network in a reliable and safe manner;
  • expand and upgrade the network to meet the demand for electricity;
  • provide high-quality services to consumers; and
  • comply with all technical specifications set out in the relevant legislation.

According to Article 123A paragraph 8 of Law 4001/2011 (G.G. A’ 179/22.8.2011), the HEDNO enjoys all the privileges, including expropriation rights, for the development of the distribution network, which were initially attributed to the Public Power Corporation by the provisions of Article 4 of Law 1468/1950 (G.G. A’ 169/2.8.1950).

The expropriation of real estate for the construction and operation of a distribution facility is conducted in accordance with the provisions of Law 2882/2001 (the “Code of Expropriation”). The quantum of compensation is determined by the judiciary.

The HEDNO has monopoly rights to provide distribution services within the country, except for Closed Distribution Systems (for more information about which, refer to 6.1 Law Governing the Construction and Operation of Electricity Distribution Facilities). 

The methodology for calculating the allowed and required revenue of the HEDNO should fully comply with the principles and objectives specified in the Network Code, particularly:

  • the protection of network users, so that network usage charges reflect the reasonable and efficient cost of services provided by the operator;
  • the provision of adequate assurances to HEDNO that it has the necessary funds to cover its reasonable and efficient operating costs, to proceed with the necessary investments approved in accordance with the provisions of the Network Code, and to ensure a reasonable return on the capital employed;
  • the provision of incentives to HEDNO to improve the efficiency of the network and the quality of services provided to network users, and to promote the development of the energy market and the country’s security of supply;
  • the development of a stable and transparent framework and of consultation procedures to determine HEDNO revenue in a systematic and evidence-based manner; and
  • the establishment of an incentive mechanism that seeks to ensure that, on the one hand, the operator strives to improve the efficiency of its controllable operating expenditures compared to the controllable operating expenditures forecast in any given year, and on the other hand, that users benefit from improved efficiency.

In light of the above, electricity distribution service charges are determined on a clear, cost-reflective, and non-discriminatory basis. 

Finally, a right of appeal to challenge the decision of the regulator in setting rates and terms and conditions of service is stipulated by Article 33 of Law 4001/2011.

Koimtzoglou-Bakalis-Venieris-Leventis & Associates Law Partnership (KBVL)

3a Fragkokklisias & Granikou Sts
151 25 Marousi
Attica
Greece

+30 213 088 1900

info@kbvl.gr www.kbvl.gr
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Trends and Developments


Authors



Koimtzoglou-Bakalis-Venieris-Leventis & Associates Law Partnership (KBVL - Deloitte Legal Network) ) is the Greek member of the Deloitte Legal Network. The energy law practice group at KBVL brings on board a unique holistic perception and comprehensive knowledge of the applicable regulatory framework, forged by key members having served in senior positions at the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (“RAAEY”) and other European energy organisations. In addition to acting for high-end clients in major energy projects, the energy law practice group at KBVL provides support to newcomers, established energy companies, sponsors and lenders to assess corporate and commercial risks and opportunities regarding the development of energy infrastructure and renewable energy systems (RES) projects, including advising on corporate power purchase agreements, EPCs and O&M contracts, access to the grid issues, RES and storage systems’ auctions, and trade and supply requirements and contracts. The energy law practice group at KBVL works hand in hand with its banking and finance, and tax practice groups.

Introduction

Greece has committed itself to a clean energy transition, which will contribute to fulfilling the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and provide clean energy to all. To deliver on its commitment, Greece has already set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 56% by 2030, compared to 2005, and to have a climate-neutral economy by 2050. This includes significantly reducing its reliance on lignite and setting a binding target to end lignite-fired power generation by 2028, while working to ensure a just transition in its lignite mining regions and reducing energy poverty. Greece has also made strong progress on renewable energy. In line with the EU Fit for 55 package and the REPowerEU plan, the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) has provided  a revised target of more than 27 GW of RES and 8.7 GW of energy storage systems to be connected to the Greek power network by 2030, which is a considerable increase of 18 GW compared to the current situation.

Offshore Wind Farms

An important section of the new NECP comprises the commitment by the Greek state to have 2 MW of offshore wind farms (OWFs) by 2030, and a total of 17 MW developed by 2050. In accordance with the provisions of the European Green Deal, the Greek government has attached great significance to the development of OWFs, as these are expected to play a key role in achieving net-zero targets.

In this regard, in July 2022, the Hellenic parliament adopted Law 4964/2022 (GGI A’ 150/30.07.2022) establishing the legal framework for OWFs. As a result, the Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (“HEREMA”) was appointed as the authority responsible, on behalf of the Greek state, for the exploration and identification of suitable areas for the deployment and installation of OWFs and the identification of offshore wind farms’ Organised Development Areas (OWFODA), in addition to the assignment of research rights to third parties within said development areas.

The Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) is responsible for the development of links between the transmission grid and OWFs, including the design, development, installation and operation of interconnections between the Greek Electricity Transmission System and each OWFODA. The Energy Regulatory Authority (“RAAEY”), on the other hand, is in charge of organising a competitive tender process for the granting of operational aid to each OWFODA.

Pursuant to Law 4964/2022, and based on HEREMA, the key milestones for the deployment of Greece’s offshore wind potential are the following.

  • Issuance of a Joint Ministerial Decision approving the National Offshore Wind Farms Development Programme and the corresponding Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) for Greece.
  • The determination of OWFODA and definition of the exact terms for OWF development by 2030 (by virtue of a presidential decree).
  • Publication of the qualification criteria for OWF investors and the granting of exploration and survey licences for each organised area, subsequent to the evaluation of the applications.
  • A ministerial decision on the distribution and maximum estimated power capacity of OWFs projects for each site within each organised area for OWF development.
  • First competitive bids (organised by RAAEY) between investors with exploration and survey licences based on the lowest offer (per MWh).
  • Final permit and financial closure between the OWF investor and the IPTO.
  • Initiation of construction works by the investor and interconnection with the Greek Electricity Transmission System.

Energy Storage Systems

Law 4951/2022 (G.G. A’ 129/4.7.2022) stipulates the basic legal framework applicable to energy storage systems, pertaining in particular to all licensing and regulatory requirements for their development. This essentially comprises the issuance of a producer’s certificate; an environmental licence; a grid connection offer, followed by a grid connection agreement; an installation licence; a building permit; and finally, an operation licence. Furthermore, based on the Decision of the European Commission C(2022) 6461/05.09.2022 approving financial support in favour of electricity storage facilities, the Greek state adopted Ministerial Decision YΠΕΝ/ΔΗΕ/55948 (G.G. Β’ 3416/20.5.2023) setting out the key parameters of the three auctions to be conducted by the RAAEY by 31 December 2023. The selected projects from these auctions will be granted investment aid (amounting to 200,000 EUR/MW) as well as operational aid (amounting to a maximum of 115,000 EUR/MW). They will have to be constructed and connected to the grid by the end of 2025 at the latest and abide by certain technical requirements throughout their life cycle.

Curtailments

Pursuant to Article 10 of Law 4951/2022, the network operators have been granted the power, under specific conditions, to execute interruptible (instead of firm) connection agreements with RES and energy storage systems’ sponsors and impose curtailments of up to 5% of the expected renewable production. These restrictions consist of the following:

  • a permanent restriction on the maximum production capacity of the station as compared to its installed capacity;
  • restrictions on the maximum production capacity of the station imposed at predetermined periods of time within each allocation day;
  • restrictions determined by the IPTO or the HEDNO, based on the estimation of the operation of the local system or network; and
  • restrictions that are being activated in real time in case of emergency through automatic systems of protection and control, which may even lead to the disconnection of the station.

Similar restrictions can be imposed on the energy storage systems. More specifically, the following conditions and/or measures can be imposed:

  • restrictions on the maximum injection or absorption capacity being imposed at predetermined periods of time within each allocation day;
  • restrictions determined by the IPTO or the HEDNO, based on the estimation of the operation of the local system or network; and
  • restrictions that are being activated in real time in case of emergency through automatic systems of protection and control, which may even lead to the disconnection of the station.

Energy Communities

Two new types of energy communities were introduced by Law 5037/2023 (G.G. Α 78/29.3.2023):

  • the Renewable Energy Communities, the mission of which is any (or more) production, consumption, storage, or trade of renewable energy, while their primary purpose is to benefit their members and their local communities in an environmental, economic and social manner; and
  • the Citizens’ Energy Communities which, in addition to the areas attributable to the Renewable Energy Communities, may also be active in the supply, distribution, aggregation, balancing, and energy efficiency of electric vehicles charging services.

Also, the members of the Renewable Energy Communities must be in proximity to the area where the community develops its activities or where the RES station is installed, whereas no proximity requirement is warranted for the members of the Citizens’ Energy Communities.

Prior to the publication of Law 5037/2023, the first energy communities had been established under Law 4513/2018 (G.G. A’ 9/23.1.2018), which constituted the first attempt by the Greek state to mobilise and incentivise local communities to adopt a more active role in the energy sector.

Self Consumption

The recent Law 5037/2023 significantly reinforced the right of final consumers to produce and store energy to cover their own energy needs, but also to sell any energy surplus (the quantity of energy which exceeds their energy needs), acting either individually or through aggregators, without any upper limit (which previously existed) and without any intermediaries. The self-consumption scheme may also operate collectively (collective self consumption) for a group of at least two self consumers residing in the same building, or even for common energy charges in residential buildings.

On the other hand, the so-called “net-metering” option, allowing the consumer to offset the energy produced by the consumer’s station with the energy absorbed by the owner’s facilities, was reduced to a maximum capacity of 10.8 kW for households and 100 kW for companies. Under the net-metering scheme, an RES station would still need to be located at, or in an adjacent area to, the point of consumption. The only exception regarding the above proximity rule applies to all types of energy communities and to agricultural loads for which the possibility of virtual net metering remains open. Under virtual net metering, the production station may be at a different location within the same prefecture, compared to the location of final consumption.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

Several developments have also emerged regarding the uptake of power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Pursuant to Law 4951/2022, the Minister of Energy issued a ministerial decision in August 2022 setting out the new prioritisation framework for RES stations to connect to the grid. According to Ministerial Decision ΥΠΕΝ/ΓΔΕ/84014/7123 (G.G. B’ 4333/2022), as amended and in force, all RES projects with complete applications for grid connection terms until 4 July 2022, that could also submit to the IPTO within a certain amount of time (two months from the publication of the ministerial decision) a terms sheet with a non-household offtaker for a PPA (or more) and a letter of credit (for 100,000 EUR/MW), would fall into Priority Group B (a highly ranked category). The total capacity under Priority Group B is 4 GW and the long form PPA would need to be submitted to the IPTO (together with another letter of credit for a further 100,000 EUR/MW) within six months of the issuance of the grid connection terms. 

Moreover, pursuant to Article 92 of Law 5027/2023, as of 10 March 2023, the RES producers’ revenues of energy sold via physical PPAs have been excluded from the market cap otherwise imposed on all producers’ revenues in the Day-Ahead Market.

Similarly, Law 5037/2023 has permitted older RES projects with public PPAs (subject to the provisions of Law 4254/2014 G.G. A’ 85/7.4.2014) to terminate their contracts provided that they enter into private PPAs.

In light of the above, the PPA market has expanded in Greece, with major energy companies signing contracts mostly with energy-intensive users as off-takers. Among the most recent examples are the PPAs between the energy supplier, HERON, and the joint venture, RWE – PPC Renewables, the one between EDPR Greece and Mytilineos, and the one between PPC Production and VIOCHALKO.

Conclusion

Greece is committed to smoothly managing its transition to a secure, efficient and flexible carbon-neutral energy system. To this end, the Greek state has taken important initiatives to ensure transparent and stable legal and regulatory frameworks, which enable renewables and electricity infrastructure projects to be implemented within a reasonable timeframe and which streamline the procedures for spatial planning and licences to facilitate the timely deployment of projects. In this regard, the current legislative framework provides for the permit-granting process for RES projects not to exceed two years in total.

The new NECP remains focused on transitioning to a net-zero emissions energy system by 2050, while ensuring energy security, improving economic competitiveness and protecting vulnerable consumers, as well as considerably accelerating and increasing the use of renewable energy, especially for electricity generation. For the attainment of these strategic aspirations, in the next few years, the development of OWFs and the uptake of PPAs, within a balanced grid expansion, together with the empowerment of the final consumer, are key factors for success.

Koimtzoglou-Bakalis-Venieris-Leventis & Associates Law Partnership (KBVL - Deloitte Legal Network) )

3a Fragkokklisias & Granikou Sts
151 25 Marousi
Attica
Greece

+30 213 088 1900

info@kbvl.gr www.kbvl.gr
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Law and Practice

Authors



Koimtzoglou-Bakalis-Venieris-Leventis & Associates Law Partnership (KBVL) is the Greek member of the Deloitte Legal Network. The energy law practice group at KBVL brings on board a unique holistic perception and comprehensive knowledge of the applicable regulatory framework, forged by key members having served in senior positions at the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (“RAAEY”) and other European energy organisations. In addition to acting for high-end clients in major energy projects, the energy law practice group at KBVL provides support to newcomers, established energy companies, sponsors and lenders to assess corporate and commercial risks and opportunities regarding the development of energy infrastructure and renewable energy systems (RES) projects, including advising on corporate power purchase agreements, EPCs and O&M contracts, access to the grid issues, RES and storage systems’ auctions, and trade and supply requirements and contracts. The energy law practice group at KBVL works hand in hand with its banking and finance, and tax practice groups.

Trends and Development

Authors



Koimtzoglou-Bakalis-Venieris-Leventis & Associates Law Partnership (KBVL - Deloitte Legal Network) ) is the Greek member of the Deloitte Legal Network. The energy law practice group at KBVL brings on board a unique holistic perception and comprehensive knowledge of the applicable regulatory framework, forged by key members having served in senior positions at the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (“RAAEY”) and other European energy organisations. In addition to acting for high-end clients in major energy projects, the energy law practice group at KBVL provides support to newcomers, established energy companies, sponsors and lenders to assess corporate and commercial risks and opportunities regarding the development of energy infrastructure and renewable energy systems (RES) projects, including advising on corporate power purchase agreements, EPCs and O&M contracts, access to the grid issues, RES and storage systems’ auctions, and trade and supply requirements and contracts. The energy law practice group at KBVL works hand in hand with its banking and finance, and tax practice groups.

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