Greece - Country Commercial Guide
Energy

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-11-11

Overview

Greece is pursuing comprehensive energy sector reforms to meet ambitious European Union targets. The nation has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 56% by 2030 (2005 levels) and aims to have a climate neutral economy by 2050. The nation will phase out its lignite plants by 2023 and focus on developing renewable energy. In the interim, natural gas will be the solution for the next 10-15 years.

LNG

Greece has been seeking greater energy independence and is seeking to become an energy exporter for the Balkan Area.  The nation has upgraded its Revithoussa Terminal and is working on a floating storage and regasification unit in Alexandroupoli. In 2021, more than 40% of Greece’s LNG imports were from the United States. Demand is likely to grow during the period of transition away from fossil fuels, and there will be opportunities for U.S. LNG exporters, and providers of equipment and solutions for LNG related infrastructure. Interested parties should keep in mind that the demand will be highest during the transitional period before the country can set its renewable energy infrastructure into place.

Renewable Energy

For the mid to longer term future, this sector will have the most potential.

Overview

The Greek Government, in line with the EU objective to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050, is focused on implementing comprehensive energy sector reforms to drive decarbonisation. Among the implemented energy reforms is the closing down of two lignite operated power plants. According to Eurostat data, Greece exceeded its 2020 EU set target for electricity produced by Renewable Energy Sources in 2019. As reported by the Greek Ministry of Energy, Greece’s current electricity production from Renewable Energy Sources (RES) amounts to 10.38 GW. The country will need another 9 GW by 2030 to achieve the goal of 35% share in final consumption and 60% in electricity from renewable energy sources.

Greece aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 56% by 2030 and have a climate neutral economy by 2050.  According to the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) which ranks countries in terms of their ability to attract investment in renewable energy sources, Greece ranked 26th in 2021, up from 31st place in 2020, among the 40 countries included in the survey.  It should be noted that Greece’s ranking was higher than Finland, Norway, and Switzerland. Recently increased energy costs have caused alarm and may result in delays for implementation.

Leading Sub-sectors

Wind Energy

Wind resources in Greece are among the most attractive for energy production in Europe, with a profile of more than 8 meters/second and/or 2,500 wind hours in many parts of the country.  According to the Hellenic Wind Association, wind energy in Greece grew significantly in 2021.  More specifically, during the first half of 2021, 97 new wind generators were connected to the electricity grid producing 260.5 MW, which corresponds to a 6.3% increase compared to the end of 2020.  According to the same source, the top business groups engaged in the sector are Terna Energy, Ellaktor, Enel, EREN and Iberdrola Rokas, followed by EDF, Motor Oil, Mytilineos Group of Companies, PPC Renewables, and Jasper Energy. It is also worth mentioning that during the first semester of 2021, more than 12 different business groups completed new wind parks in Greece.  U.S. firm 547 Energy, in collaboration with the Greek firm Enora S.A., is active in the Greek market with a portfolio of 440 MW mature wind projects with 315 MW at Vermio in northern Greece, 105 MW in the Peloponnese (currently in the final line for completion of bureaucratic procedures to start construction), and another 20 MW at Peloponnese planned for a future date.  Finally, the Hellenic Wind Association looks forward to working with the Greek Government to effectively implement the second phase of simplifying the permitting process and establishing clearer and more transparent rules for spatial planning.

Opportunities exist for U.S. firms who can provide equipment and solutions in these wind park developments in addition to firms looking to compete for wind park development or investment opportunities.

Greece 1 - HWEA Wind Energy Statistics 2021
Greece 1 - HWEA Wind Energy Statistics 2021
Greece 2 - Spatial Distribution of Wind Energy
Greece 2 - Spatial Distribution of Wind Energy

 

Solar Energy

According to the REN21 2021 Renewable Energy Report, demand for solar PV is spreading and expanding as it becomes the most competitive option for electricity generation in a growing number of locations, both for residential and commercial applications, and increasingly for utility-scale projects – even without accounting for the external costs of fossil fuels.  Solar PV accounted for around 10.4% of annual generation in Greece. Furthermore, as reported by the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, in 2020, new legislation gave the right to PV developers to secure a higher reference value (tariff) for the energy fed into the grid, based on a declaration of “readiness for connection” and not on the actual connection date. As a result, there was a boom in installations before year end. Due to restrictions imposed because of Covid-19, almost half of this installed capacity was scheduled to be connected to the grid sometime in 2021.

Greece 3 – Installed and Connected Capacity I 2020 and Cumulative
Greece 3 – Installed and Connected Capacity I 2020 and Cumulative
Greece 4 – Greek PV Market Development (installed capacity)
Greece 4 – Greek PV Market Development (installed capacity)

 

Greece 5 – Greek PV Market Development (connected capacity)
Greece 5 – Greek PV Market Development (connected capacity)

It should be noted that due to the de-lignification commitment of current Greek government, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) – the main energy/electricity producer of the Greek market - is now more actively investing in solar projects with a portfolio of 6 GW of projects.  Its RES percentage is at 2% while it aims to increase it to 15% by end of 2024.  PPC, through its subsidiary PPC Renewables, already operates photovoltaic plants with a total capacity of 650 MW.  Additionally, PPC Renewables and RWE, Germany’s biggest power producer, are in the process of finalizing a business agreement to execute this year.

Opportunities will exist for U.S. firms to provide equipment and solutions to solar park developments in addition to investment and development opportunities.

Biomass & Biofuels

There is strong political will from the European Union to develop bioenergy as an important energy source following the principles of sustainability.   The Greek National Energy Plan of July 2020 clearly shows Greece’s commitment to increasing its share of biofuels (biogas/biomethane) as a mean to secure energy supply and contribute to de-lignification, using local endogenous sources as material for biomass.  The prospects of the biomass / biogas electricity generation sector in Greece are very high as shown by studies conducted by the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES) CRES studies, which can be specialized by sector (agricultural, waste management, livestock).  According to Greece’s Strategic Energy Plan the Greek government aims to increase the installed capacity of biomass/biogas plants from 0.10GW to 0.30GW in 2030.

In the field of biofuels, the domestic production of biodiesel corresponds to 90% of the total quantity, amounting to 130,805 kiloliters, and only 1% is imported. In terms of raw materials, about 60% of the biodiesel produced comes from oilseeds, 27% from used vegetable oils, frying oils, animal fats, while the rest is covered by cotton seeds. Of the oilseeds, sunflower occupies the first place with 210,000 tons, which corresponds to 86% of the total amount of oilseeds, followed by significantly lower percentages of rapeseed (10%) and soybeans (4%).  DESFA, the Greek natural gas transmission system operator, is considering developing a biomethane pilot project in central Greece after studying Greece’s biomethane production potential.

Greece 5 – Example of a centralized biogas–biomethane network model
Greece 5 – Example of a centralized biogas–biomethane network model
Greece 6 – Estimated Biomethane Potential in Greece
Greece 6 – Estimated Biomethane Potential in Greece

Biomass and biofuels are strong markets with high growth potential. Companies involved in biomass and biofuels will therefore find abundant sources of raw materials. 

Opportunities

Wind Energy

  • Superb wind resources – among the best in Europe
  • Priority dispatch by the system operator
  • Modern business oriented auctioning system
  • 20‐year PPA (power purchase agreement)
  • Favorable, long term legislative framework, ensuring investment reliability

Solar

  • Emerging market with substantial entry‐stage opportunities
  • Wide variety of synergistic applications

Biomass and Biofuels

  • Abundant raw materials
  • High feed in tariffs
  • Binding national commitments in biofuel use
  • Favorable, long term legislative framework, ensuring investment reliability

Commercial Assistant: Teresa.Gile@trade.gov