Reform to empower RES projects

The government plans to introduce to parliament a legislative amendment that will open the way for thousands of renewable energy investment plans blocked by bureaucratic procedures, the Development Ministry said yesterday. Complex legal regulations and miles of red tape are blamed by investors for putting the brake on investments in wind and solar energy projects. The Development Ministry said the amendment will speed up permit procedures while also adjusting the sale price of power produced to make it a more attractive investment option. «With this initiative, investment plans will be freed up and we will promote a larger participation of photovoltaic investments in electricity generation,» said Development Minister Christos Folias. According to sources, several thousand investments in renewable energy sources (RES), which would generate some 2,500 megawatts of power, are currently awaiting the green light from authorities. Despite being one of Europe’s sunniest and windiest countries, Greece trails many of its European peers in the production of renewable power. On a national level, Greece generates only about 760 MW of power from renewable energy sources, less than 5 percent of its energy capacity. Studies show that if the government approves a third of the applications it has received for photovoltaic investments, then Greece will be equipped with 300 megawatts of solar power by 2012. The country remains heavily reliant on oil imports and lignite-powered energy plants run by utility Public Power Corporation (PPC). «This initiative is aimed at boosting the share of renewable energy sources in total energy output to 20 percent by 2020,» added the minister. It was not clear when the amendment would be submitted to parliament or when it is expected to come into effect. A group of four leading Spanish energy companies, all active in the local market, announced last month that bureaucracy is blocking investments worth 2.5 billion euros in the sector.