EBRD commits €300 million to Greece’s renewables

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The new €300 million facility “will finance investments in electricity generation from renewable sources and in electricity distribution and transmission capacity to improve efficiency, reduce losses and enable the integration of renewables into the grid,” said the bank.

The EBRD also added that its new framework builds upon Greece’s new renewable energies support scheme, which passed into law last year. Greece’s new renewable energy policy adopts competitive tenders and feed-in premiums, replacing fixed-price, expensive feed-in tariffs.

Asked whether the bank has any specific plans to fund solar PV plants, an EBRD spokesperson told pv magazine that there is a strong pipeline of projects that the bank is currently looking at, and is therefore “confident that we [the bank] will be able to attract investment in all renewables which are viable in Greece.”

Similarly, when asked by pv magazine whether the bank has any particular scheme in mind, the same spokesperson said “at this stage it is simply too early for us to go into any detail.”

The EBRD has been instrumental in supporting solar PV deployment in various countries, most crucially in neighboring Turkey, where it has set up financing schemes encouraging businesses to install PV systems up to 1 MW. A great chunk of Turkey’s PV installations are financed by EBRD funds.

Greece installed only 4.2 MW in 2016 via its net-metering scheme. In 2017, the Greek solar PV sector’s hopes will center upon the net-metering scheme and the recently awarded 40 MW of ground-mounted PV plants via the country’s inaugural renewable energy tender.

The country’s electricity sector is in turmoil too. Greece has committed to the European Union to open its retail electricity market to competition. Currently, about 90% of the market is dominated by the state utility PPC. To date, the government has refused proposals to privatise parts of the PPC, and suggested alternative options to open the electricity market. Given that such options have failed, and the PPC has accumulated huge debts, it is now understood that the government is considering to sell off a portion of the utility.

Furthermore, the country faces an electricity supply gap, and relies heavily on foreign imports to meet its needs. The PPC has an outdated investment strategy, aimed at new coal plants. It is welcome that the EBRD is taking an active role in energy investments in the country aiming to promote the renewable energy sector.