Greece 'to export solar power to Germany'

Aug 28, 2011
Wracked by debt but blessed with abundant sunshine, Greece plans to develop some 20,000 hectares of solar power parks in a bid to export renewable energy to Germany, a report said on Saturday.

Wracked by debt but blessed with abundant sunshine, Greece plans to develop some 20,000 hectares of solar power parks in a bid to export renewable energy to Germany, a report said on Saturday.

Top-selling Ta Nea daily said the project, which has a tentative budget of 20 billion euros ($29 billion), could create 60,000 jobs at a time when Greece is battling a deep recession and record unemployment figures.

Germany is looking for after chancellor Angela Merkel's government decided to shut down all 17 of the country's nuclear reactors over 11 years, following the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan in March.

Environment Minister George Papaconstantinou discussed the initiative, code named Project Helios, with Germany's deputy economy minister Stefan Kapferer, who was in Athens this week for investment talks, the daily said.

German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler is also scheduled to visit Greece in October, following an agreement between Athens and Berlin in March to cooperate on development.

"There is significant German interest in investments of this sort," Papaconstantinou said this week, adding that the Greek government has already initiated funding talks on Project Helios with foreign banks.

"These are plans with a 20 and 25-year perspective, hence investors are guaranteed a satisfactory return," said Papaconstantinou, who headed the finance ministry until June.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, a strong proponent of green energy, announced plans in January to build "the world's largest solar park" over depleted lignite mines in the northern city of Kozani.

Estimated to cost 600 million euros and with a capacity of 200 megawatts, the project's electricity output will be "greater than any other photovoltaic park operational in the world until now," Papandreou said at the time.

The state-run Public Power Corporation (PPC) said it would organise an international tender to find a strategic investor for the solar park, which is to be built over 520 hectares (1,285 acres) of disused mines.

The Socialist government has sought to attract investment in renewable energy projects to offset thousands of jobs lost to a recession exacerbated by austerity measures adopted to tackle a national debt crisis.

It has also pledged to gradually shift electricity production away from lignite, a heavily polluting form of coal.

Greece's unemployment rate has steadily shot up this year, hitting 16.6 percent in May 2011 from 12.0 percent in the same month the previous year.

The Greek economy is expected to shrink by at least 4.5 percent of output this year after two previous years of contraction.

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User comments : 14

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Hengine
3 / 5 (5) Aug 28, 2011
Where will the energy come from to make the 20,000 hectares of PV panels?
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (6) Aug 28, 2011
Energetic amortisation times for photovoltaics is about 2-4 years (depending on type and location...Greece being very sunny I'd guess it's more to the low end of the spectrum)

MR166
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 28, 2011
Yet another hair brained green scheme! No wonder Greece and much of Europe is bankrupt. Just how do you transport power 1400 miles when I2R losses are 50%/hundred miles. Power trading schemes only work if all of the available capacity is being used between the generating country and target country.
Shootist
not rated yet Aug 28, 2011
Energetic amortisation times for photovoltaics is about 2-4 years (depending on type and location...Greece being very sunny I'd guess it's more to the low end of the spectrum)


A system capable of producing 2kw/hr continuous output with sufficient storage for 24/7 operation and control system costs more than $50,000.

At $.50 kw/hr break even at 100000 hours. /= 2-4 years in any reality.
Jmaximus
5 / 5 (4) Aug 28, 2011
Where will the energy come from to make the 20,000 hectares of PV panels?
The same place it comes from to build a coal fired plant. The difference is once it is built it doesn't continue to destroy our environment or require fuel imported from other countries.
an_p
5 / 5 (5) Aug 28, 2011
Just how do you transport power 1400 miles when I2R losses are 50%/hundred miles.


Of course by high voltage direct current - heres some wikipedia (HVDC) for your convenience:

The advantage of HVDC is the ability to transmit large amounts of power over long distances with lower capital costs and with lower losses than AC. Depending on voltage level and construction details, losses are quoted as about 3% per 1,000 km.[14] High-voltage direct current transmission allows efficient use of energy sources, remote from load centers.

The longest HVDC link in the world is currently the Xiangjiaba-Shanghai 2,071 km (1,287 mi) 6400 MW link connecting the Xiangjiaba Dam to Shanghai, in the People's Republic of China.[2] The longest HVDC link will be the Rio Madeira link connecting the Amazonas to the So Paulo area where the length of the DC line is over 2,500 km (1.600mi)
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Aug 28, 2011
A system capable of producing 2kw/hr continuous output with sufficient storage for 24/7 operation and control system costs more than $50,000.

I repeat: ENERGETIC amortisation time is 2-4 years. That is: The ENERGY needed to produce it is recouped in 2-4 years.

Cost amortization is longer (usually 10 years for PV - which is still lower than e.g. a nuclear power plant even if you omit all its ancillary costs)
Eikka
4 / 5 (3) Aug 28, 2011

Cost amortization is longer (usually 10 years for PV - which is still lower than e.g. a nuclear power plant even if you omit all its ancillary costs)


But considering that nuclear powerplants run for 60 years, they recoup the initial investment several times over.

How long does a solar panel last?
prokaryote
5 / 5 (3) Aug 28, 2011
Most solar panels will produce about 80% of it's rated power after 25 years in the field. The decline is pretty much linear after the first two years. So figure 50% production after 60 years. The components that will wear out first are the inverters, the interconnects and depending upon the type of panel, the edge seal moisture barrier. Balance of system costs are what's important when considering PV. Current cost per Watt manufactured of some popular Thin Film panels is ~$0.76. Remaining costs of ~$1.5 - $2.0 per Watt is the rest of the balance of system costs (e.g., land, support structure, easements, maintenance, access to and connecting to transmission lines, etc.). At current efficiencies of ~14%, breakeven price per KWhr is about $0.12-0.14 over a 25 year lifespan. This doesn't include transmission costs of ~$0.06 - 0.08 per KWhr. Coal runs about $0.06 per KWhr but does not reflect its true cost (environmental damage). This part is indirectly subsidized.
prokaryote
5 / 5 (1) Aug 28, 2011
Subsidies consist of off-loaded costs from the generator to the public via taxes to mitigate environmental damage, health care, etc.

Best regards.
prokaryote
2 / 5 (3) Aug 28, 2011
P.S. article about balance of system costs here:
http colon slash slash www dot rmi dot org slash rmi slash SolarPVBOS.

Costs of coal here: http colon slash slash www dot skepticalscience dot com slash true-cost-of-coal-power dot html

Cost per Watt solar panels here:
http colon slash slash pvinsights dot com slash
Pete1983
not rated yet Aug 28, 2011
Great comments guys. We started out with the "I'm a free-market capitalist and I wants me some coal! Solar power sucks Yee HA".

Which was quickly shut down with "Dear sir, sorry, but I have evidence to show you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Thanks for trying though".

Ah evidence... is there anything it can't do?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Aug 29, 2011
But considering that nuclear powerplants run for 60 years, they recoup the initial investment several times over.

Trying to find the link I posted elsewhere...but from memory: Nuclear is about a factor of 11-12 (i.e. it recoups 11-12 times as much money as it costs to set it up). But that is without ancillary costs - which would mean the factor is lower.
PV is about the same (11-12). Solar thermal is about 16 and wind about 19.

While nuclear reactor genrate a lot of power they also cost a few billion to set up. So while the money earned from a nuclear reactor may seem enormous it isn't so seen in relation to initial investments.

With fuels (any kind) having steadily become more costly over the past decades and costs for alternative energy having dropped about 50% in the last 15 years I think it'sbecomeing increasingly obvious which will be the most cost effective technologies to invest in in the future.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Aug 29, 2011
Ooops...forgot hydro which has a recoup factor of 22-24 if I recall correctly (Oil, coal and gas are about the same as nuclear