Reed Smith In-depth

Under the Hellenic Republic’s new offshore wind energy law, one state-controlled company, HEREMA, will propose and the government will decide which sea areas will be licensed to explore, develop and operate offshore wind projects in Greece, account taken of environmental, planning, national security and other matters of relevance.

The new law also sets requirements for applicants and rules for competitive bidding, so that renewable energy developers receive not only exclusive development rights in such areas but also operating aid for their projects, and thereby help Greece add 2.7 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, including 600 MW through a special pilot program in the Thracian Sea.

wind turbine

In July 2022, the Hellenic Parliament passed the long-awaited new law on the development of offshore wind projects in Greece, namely chapter H (articles 65 to 80) of Law 4964/2022 (the Law), which is aimed at establishing a coherent framework for the development, licensing, grid connection, and commercial operation of offshore wind projects in the Greek seas, in replacement of relevant past legislation that did not deliver any concrete results.1

Amid the energy crisis of 2022 and after a long period of discussions on the final market model, the Law was finally adopted with a clear objective to address the strong interest of international and domestic investors by defining the legal framework for the addition of a new, renewable energy technology in the power generation mix of Greece, a country enjoying one of the most significant, but still untapped, offshore renewable energy potential in the Mediterranean region. A national policy measure that is in complete agreement with the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy toward the achievement of the European Green Deal energy and climate goals for the period up to 2050.

In this context, we have set forth below a summary of the main provisions of the Law (including the main procedural steps of the framework) together with an update on the current state of play in terms of the rather limited progress made so far and the estimated time line regarding the adoption of several derivative legislative acts enabling the full implementation of the Law.

OFW Development Areas

The Law appoints the state-controlled Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (HEREMA) as the competent body for exercising the Greek state’s exclusive rights for the exploration and exploitation of the offshore wind potential within the country’s sea areas. In this respect, HEREMA is responsible for the preparation of a national plan for the development of the offshore wind technology (the OFW National Plan) on the basis of a technical study that shall take into account the main criteria set forth in the Law for the development of offshore wind projects, such as the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP); the protection of the environment; spatial and maritime planning aspects; national security; and other relevant aspects or criteria like antiquities, monuments, infrastructures and other productive or development activities. The plan will be subject to Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) at national level and will also define the potential broader sea areas for the development of offshore wind projects (OFW Organized Development Areas), as well as the estimated project capacities to be developed therein. Once finalized, the plan must be approved by a joint decision of the Ministers of Environment and Energy; Finance; Development and Investments; Foreign Affairs; National Defense; Culture; Maritime Affairs; Rural Development; and Tourism (JMD). [Step 1]

As a second step, HEREMA shall prepare technical studies for the designation of specific OFW Organized Development Areas and the terms for the development of offshore wind projects therein, account taken of the aforesaid National Plan. Following SEIA process for every technical study at local level, the OFW Organized Development Areas will have to be approved by virtue of individual presidential decrees, initially for the period until 2030 and subsequently for the period beyond 2030, including the determination of the maximum project capacities to be installed in any such area. [Step 2]