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Greece: A Paradise for Floating Wind?

The Greek government's announcement to massively expand renewable energies in the country in the coming years is arousing desire. Now Norwegian Equinor Group is taking a stand: Greece is an ideal location for floating wind turbines.

Wind energy is not alien to the inhabitants of Mykonos. Soon floating offshore wind turbines could be added. (Image: Pixabay)Wind energy is not alien to the inhabitants of Mykonos. Soon floating offshore wind turbines could be added. (Image: Pixabay)

Floating wind turbines in the Aegean Sea? A sight that locals and tourists will soon have to get used to, at least when it comes to Equinor. The company, which used to be active as Statoil mainly in the oil and gas sector, does, however, impose conditions.

Arne Eik, Equinor's leading business developer for floating offshore wind, told Reuters: “I think the physical potential is there. There are areas with good wind, suitable water depths. Now, it’s whether there will be framework conditions that will allow developers to build a project.”

After the big economic crisis a few years ago, Greece is slowly getting back on its feet and wants to be less dependent on costly energy imports in the future. Therefore, the government wants to expand renewable energies. Above all, sun and wind are abundant on the many islands in the Mediterranean. The government's goal is to double the share of solar and wind energy in electricity generation to 48 percent by 2030, compared with just under 26 percent in 2016.

To this end, the installed solar and wind capacity is to grow by 2 gigawatts to around 5 GW by next year. A total of 13 GW is to be achieved by 2030. Not an easy undertaking, which is why offshore wind energy is moving into the spotlight alongside PV projects and onshore wind farms. Due to the depth of the water, however, the space for conventional turbines with solid foundations is limited. Therefore, Greece now wants to create a new legal and administrative framework to conduct a pilot tender for floating turbines in the coming year.

This is where Equinor comes in. The company has built the up to date only floating wind farm in the world off the coast of Scotland, so it has the necessary experience. The company told Balkan Green Energy News: “Due to excellent wind conditions offshore, deep waters and the strong industrial/yard and maritime tradition Greece is well positioned to become an important area for floating offshore wind."

The floating installations in the Aegean could be fastened this way. The graphic shows Equinor's Hywind Park off Scotland's coast (Image: Equinor)

According to the Athens news agency, initial talks on a possible investment plan have already been held between the Norwegian ambassador in Greece and the Greek government, as the Greek Reporter says. Equinor believes that the Aegean is an ideal location due to its relatively low waves. In the area between Tinos, Syros and the Mykonos Islands there are also strong winds on the sea surface. According to the report, the project will be able to supply up to 40,000 households with clean energy.

In addition to the regulatory requirements, Equinor has a further condition: the project should have a capacity of at least 200 MW in order to keep costs as low as possible. "We are interested in building scale in order to get down the costs and we also think that this is important for Greece," explains Eik.

If the authorities will get it right, Greece could soon become a paradise for floating wind farms.

Katrin Radtke
Greece, Equinor, floating, offshore, wind farm, MW, GW, renewable energy, Mediterranean, turbine

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