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Newsletter April 2012


Major Projects Approved for Fast Track

Greece’s Interministerial Committee of Strategic Investments approved a plan to include six new large investments, worth 5.6 billion Euros, in Greece’s Fast Track programme.

In 2011, Greece enacted a new programme to enhance investment in major projects that have national importance and that add significantly to Greece’s economic growth and development.

The Fast Track programme, formally known as the "Acceleration and transparency in the realisation of Strategic Investments" Law, provides the international and Greek investment community with a stable and transparent investment framework that includes regulations, procedures, and administrative mechanisms for the implementation of major public and private projects.

Through the Law, critical factors that have inhibited major investment in Greece are abolished. The Law allows businesspeople to proceed without bureaucracy, legal framework complexity, and opacity which, to date, have discouraged investors and significantly delayed the implementation of major projects.

The six investment projects passed in March are expected to have a highly positive impact on the country’s energy balance, as the projects are expected to add 2,900 MW from renewable energy source (RES) projects.
The Committee meeting, chaired by then Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, approved the six investment plans and agreed to resolve bureaucratic issues through Fast Track procedures envisaged by Greek legislation, with the help of Invest in Greece.
Commenting on the six new investment plans, then Development, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis said: “The benefits for the country from these investments will be multiple, both for local communities and the country in general, including new jobs which will be created, the development of renewable energy sources and economic growth in general.”

Invest in Greece is responsible for the implementation of "Acceleration and Transparency in the Realisation of Strategic Investments".

The investment projects are:
1. Gold mining development within designated mining concessions, located in the prefecture of Evros, north-eastern Greece.
The Gold Perama Project regards the creation of mining installations for the mining and development of the auriferous mineralisation in Alexandroupolis Municipality in the Region of Evros.  The total value of this investment is 128,960 million Euros. The operator of this project is “GOLD MINES OF THRAKI Α.Β.M.E”, a Greek Société Anonyme that is 100% owned by Canada’s Eldorado Gold Corporation which is listed on the Toronto, New York and Sydney stock exchanges. Eldorado Gold has seven active mines. The implementation of the project will take place with private funds, without a loan.

The Golden Perama project will be one of the most important and productive investments at the area of Thraki to this day, having a positive contribution to the economy and employment of the area. In particular, during the construction period, approximately 300 people will be hired and upon operation the permanent staff will be 200 full time employees. At a local level, entrepreneurship will be enhanced, regional inequality will be decreased and social consistency will be enforced through direct tax collection.

According to the company, the technology methods that are used are absolutely safe for the environment and the local society and in complete accordance with both Greek and European legislation. The planning of the project has been realised on the basis of zero effluent disposal to natural recipients and all functions will be run in a closed loop model. During the construction as well as the operation of the project, there will be a quality monitoring programme for water resources, soil, and the ambient environment.

Before the project was included to the Fast Track Law, there had been a positive evaluation from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change regarding the Preliminary Environmental Assessment and Evaluation (PEAE) for the construction and operation of the project, as well as approval from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Preliminary Environmental Impact (PEI) of the project.

2. Wind System for the Production of Electric Energy (A.S.P.H.E.) of Crete
The “Wind System for the Production of Electric Energy (A.S.P.H.E.) of Crete” investment plan of TERNA ENERGY S.A., with a budget of 2.46 billion Euros, regards the development of 33 Wind Station units in Crete with a power output of 1.077 MW and their interconnection with the mainland of Greece through an underwater cable.

The primary benefits of this investment are:
• Contribution to the improvement of current accounts and to the restriction of export exchange, due to the restriction of oil imports that is used as fuel for these units and to the saving of 648 million tons of fuel oil per year, with a total estimated value of 272 million Euros, ensured by the annual production of 2.597 GWh through the investment. 
• Important contribution to the achievement of the national 20/20/20 target of 20% of energy production by RES.
• Upgrade of the environment and reinforcement of the national infrastructure for the sustainable environmental and economic development of the country.
• Important contribution in the fight against unemployment, both during the implementation of the investment, by the creation of approximately 1,500 jobs and during the operation and maintenance of the stations, by the creation of 130 permanent staff positions.
• Revenues of more than 5 million Euros annually for the Municipalities where the wind turbines will be located.
• Ensuring the sufficiency of electricity and high-quality, uninterruptible power supply for the consumers of Crete at a low cost, given the discount to the price of power, as defined by the new law for Renewable Sources of Energy, at least in the highland areas.
• Improvement, where needed, of the road network of the island for better access to the wind turbine locations, the opening of new roads, the development of the area’s huge natural wealth and the development of investment opportunities for the expansion of local commercial and business activity.  

3. Pumped-storage systems for energy production and storage (Capacity 587 MW)
The investment of TERNA ENERGY S.A. involves the construction of a pumped-storage complex in “Agios Georgios” and “Pyrgos”, Municipality of Amfilochia, in the Region of Aetoloakarnania, with the artificial lake of Kastraki used as the base reservoir. The projects will have 704.4 GWh production capacity and are valued at 501.8 million Euros.

The investment provides technical, economic and environmental benefits, with a positive impact on regional development, employment, and the national 2020 RES target.

Technical benefits
• Maximisation of penetration of large wind and PV parks in the interconnected grid. Storage of non-absorbed energy from RES and thermal units (technical minimum).
• Stabilisation of the frequency and voltage of the interconnected system with the infusion of the produced hydroelectrical energy through the pumped-storage systems, and provision of auxiliary services to the Network Administrator.

Economic benefits
• Decreased dependence on imported fuel
• High national added value

Environmental benefits
• Significant reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gases, as in the operation of hydroelectrical production, polluting fuels are replaced.
• In addition to energy production, there is no wastage of water and, simultaneously, the operation of conventional hydroelectrical units is facilitated, and may cover other needs (irrigation, water supply, flood protection).
• Exploitation of the existing, operating hydrodynamic facilities.

Regional development and employment
• Employment of qualified personnel with various specialties in all phases of preparation, construction and operation. During the four-year phase of construction (2013-2016) 842 persons are expected to be employed. During the operation phase the creation of 50 new jobs for specialised and technical support personnel (mainly from local communities) is expected.
• Financial support of the municipalities in the region, and the citizens, at a rate of 3% of gross revenues.
• Construction of auxiliary projects, (roads, telecommunications, electrical network), which are necessary for the implementation of the main project, at no cost to the citizens.
• Tourism upgrade of the region and development of alternative forms of tourism.

The materialisation of the investment will contribute significantly to achieving the national RES target and will be the precursor for the implementation of similar projects.

4. Development of arrays of wind parks in Crete and interconnection with the mainland grid
The "Crete, Green Island" project of the Elica Group, which is owned by the Copelouzos and Samaras Groups, has a value of € 1.99 billion, involves the development of an array of 36 Wind Power Stations totaling 1.005 MW in Crete, and their interconnection, via underwater cable, to mainland Greece.

The operation of the wind parks will result in a reduction of 3 million tons of CO2 emissions annually and a savings of 253,000 tons of oil, saving up to € 150 million annually in foreign exchange due to the non-import of oil. Additionally, there will be an avoidance of greenhouse gas emission rights,  that will apply from 2013, of up to € 90 million annually, with a corresponding contribution to the current account balance and the limitation of the increase in the price of electricity. The operation of the wind parks will bolster employment by creating 1,000 new jobs in the construction phase, and a significant number of permanent employees in the 20-year—at minimum—period of operation. The project will also lead to a cost reduction of electricity production in Crete for the 2017 - 2040 period by the amount of € 6.8 billion. In terms of revenue to the Greek state, an important contribution to the Municipalities in which the wind power stations will be housed is expected, and total tax revenues are estimated at €1.400 million.

5. Construction of 12 photovoltaic power parks, in Thessaly, Central (Sterea), and Western Greece, with a total capacity of 166.142 MW
The project involves the construction of 12 photovoltaic power parks, in Thessaly, Central (Sterea), and Western Greece, with a total capacity of 166.142 MW, and is budgeted at 332.284 million Euros. The owner of the project is SPES SOLARIS - SOLAR CONCEPT SA, a Greek Societé Anonyme owned by Mr. Dimitrios Panagakos.
The implementation of the proposed investment project will prevent 253.000 tons of CO2 emission annually, and will have a positive impact on the national economy due to the proportional reduction in fossil fuel consumption. In this way, the operation and the sustainability of the production units of the Panagakos Group in the Industrial Area of Patras and Thebes are ensured. These units that produce photovoltaic modules currently employ 360 persons, whose jobs are ensured as well. At the same time a significant increase in employment is expected by creating 126 new jobs for the operation and the maintenance of the parks. The implementation of the investment in three regions will enhance regional development and the national and local economies through the provision of services related to construction, operation and maintenance of the photovoltaic stations. Moreover, the Greek state will benefit by 137 million Euros through tax revenues from the investment over a period of two decades.

6. Construction of Concentrated Solar Power plant of 70 MW capacity in Fournia, Municipality Entity Itanos, Municipality of Sitia, Regional Entity of Lassithi, Region of Crete
SOLAR POWER PLANT LASSITHI EPE will build a solar power plant (station) for electricity production. The proposed project involves the installation of a 70 MW total capacity park. The project will be installed in “Fournia”, Municipality Entity Itanos, Municipality of Sitia, Regional Entity of Lassithi, Region of Crete.

Electricity production will reach approximately 168.000 MWh annually. This volume is equal to the consumption of 50,000 households. The total investment is valued at 268 million Euros.
The investment will improve quality of life and will enhance the energy independence of the island. Benefits are:
 • Economic foreign exchange benefits due to the reduced use of oil
 • Ecological and environmental benefits of using RES
 • Strengthening Greek know-how and enhancement of electricity production
 • Independence from imported, conventional energy sources
 •Creation of local government revenue of up to 1.5 million Euros annually
 • Reduction of unemployment by employing 650 workers during the construction period and 70 workers during the period of commercial operation
 • Contribution to meeting the goals set by the European Union on energy efficiency