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Will Greece warm to renewable energy? March 22, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Energy.
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Wind power generators in Greece currently produce 746 megawatts, while a further 1,600 MW are presently under development > Renewable energy generation in Greece is still at low levels, despite the country’s excellent potential, according to a survey by Kantor Management Consultants SA.

Wind power accounts for the largest share of renewable energy in Greece (excluding the major hydroelectric plants operated by the Public Power Corporation), with a wind generator capacity amounting to 746 megawatts (end 2006 data).

The domestic wind power market is operated by only a few but large groups which have the necessary expertise and capital. Some of the major players include Rokas-Iberdrola, Kopelouzos-ENEL, PPC Renewable-EDF and Terna. Currently under development are another 600 MW by Terna and 1,000 MW by Kopelouzos.

European Union targets are to double the gross primary energy generation from renewable sources to 12 percent of total production in 2010 and to 20 percent in 2020. But this target would be hard for Greece to achieve under current conditions, as it would require the country to almost double its renewable energy generation in just three years.

The main reasons for Greece’s lower-than-expected penetration into renewable energy sources, according to Kantor’s survey, include complex and time-consuming licensing procedures, network and connection problems, ineffective incentives and the lack of a comprehensive town-planning program for development of energy production regions.

Despite having incorporated EU directives, Greek legislation provides a rather vague framework. In addition, subsidies for renewable energy investments are excessively high.

For instance, photovoltaic systems in Greece are subsidized up to 45 percent of the required amount, and this, Kantor says, has invited oversupply in small-scale projects, which are not capable of creating the required impetus for a shift to large-scale photovoltaic development.

To speed up the penetration of renewable energy in the country’s energy balance, Kantor believes that policy should revolve around the following main axes: the reduction of subsidies for small-scale investments and the channeling of funds to larger-scale renewable energy projects; the designation and, where appropriate, expropriation of expanses of land to be used for renewable energy installations; plus the better organization of licensing and town-planning procedures.

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