Oil group Hellenic Petroleum said it will build Greece’s largest renewable energy project so far after securing €75m ($88m) of backing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Hellenic – which is part-owned by the Greek government – will construct 204MW of solar in northern Greece that it’s also billing as southeast Europe’s biggest PV project to date with a 350GWh annual output that can power 75,000 homes.
The oil refiner said the Kozani project is its biggest move yet into renewables as it chases a target to build 600MW of clean energy by 2025.
The solar will be built in the country’s most coal-dependent region at Kozani in Western Macedonia, close to where existing coal-fired plants are being phased out.
To finance the project, Athens-listed Hellenic launched a bond issue to raise €100m, with the EBRD committing to three-quarters of that.
“Greece has a very ambitious decarbonisation plan and it will therefore need many projects of this scale to replace its existing lignite capacity,” said Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD’s head of energy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Greece plans to boost renewables to 35% of its energy consumption by 2030 from 19.7% this year, hoping to generate around €44bn of investments.
Hellenic said Kozani, which it bought from German developer Juwi in February, is in its final stage of licensing. Construction work, which should last 16 months, is expected to begin this month so the project can be operational by the first quarter of 2022.
Kozani was the biggest winner in an April 2019 renewables auction staged by the Greek government, when it won almost half of the capacity on offer with a bid of €57.30/MWh.
“The Kozani project is our first big step towards building a material renewables portfolio in line with our strategy and our ambition to reduce our carbon footprint,” said George Alexopoulos, member of Hellenic Petroleum’s board of directors.