Greece approves large scale solar-battery-hydrogen project 


Greece’s Inter-ministerial Committee, chaired by the Minister of Development and Investments and attended by several other ministers across the cabinet, agreed on Thursday to grant a new hydrogen project the so-called status of a “strategic investment” for the country.

Specifically, the committee comprising eight ministers and vice-ministers, labeled a 200 MW photovoltaic project, set to be developed together with a cluster of lithium-ion batteries totaling 100 MW and a 50 MW electrolyzer capable of producing 16 tons of hydrogen per day, as strategic. The MWh of the battery component was not released.

The project represents a €226.4 million ($224.4 million) investment and is expected to generate 442 new jobs during the construction phase and 24 jobs while in operation, said the government press release. Bluesky300 IKE, the Greek subsidiary firm of UK solar developer Hive Energy, is backing it.

This is not the only green power project Hive Energy is looking to build in Greece. pv magazine learned that the company has at least 250 MW of additional PV capacity under its portfolio in the country that has been labeled as a strategic investment by the same government committee in the past. These projects are not yet built, however.

Strategic investments 

The so-called strategic investment projects are not new. Investors who believe their projects may be of strategic importance to the country may contact Enterprise Greece, a state agency promoting itself as “the official investment and trade promotion agency of the Greek State, operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

The agency then processes the investor’s application. Should the project fulfill the strategic investment criteria, it will be brought to the Inter-ministerial committee for approval. This process requires investors to pay a fee to Enterprise Greece for administering an application.

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Such a fee tends to be worthwhile because approved strategic projects may be eligible for state funding, although this is not always granted. More importantly, strategic projects may take advantage of faster licensing processes across all stages of the project’s development.

Prior Greek governments have argued that strategic investment projects are necessary for the country to take advantage of investment of capital in key areas of the local economy. However, no government has thus far fully defined what specific factors make a project strategic. For instance, the Inter-ministerial committee has often approved photovoltaic projects that do not combine any innovative elements like hydrogen.

Strategic investments do not only concern energy projects. Last week, the same Inter-ministerial committee labeled the development of a hotel resort facility in Mykonos, one of Greece’s most well-known tourist destinations, as strategic.

* This article was amended on September 22, 2022 at 13.20 CEST. A previous version of the article wrote that strategic investments enjoy priority access to the grid. This is correct only for power projects labelled as strategic by 12 August 2022.

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