Greece on the path towards becoming a renewable energy hub
In order to increase well-being and prosperity, as well as ensure that current and future generations are able to enjoy a healthy environment, makes protecting the environment is imperative. Countries like Greece have numerous environmental challenges they need to address. Some key challenges include high reliance on fossil fuels, air pollution in urban areas, waste management as well as water extraction in some areas.
In line with the OECD average, Greece’s greenhouse gas emissions (per unit of GDP) have consistently declined in recent years, putting Greece on track to meet its environmental goals, towards zero net emissions. Recently, Greece’s National Energy and Climate Plan 2021–30 was announced, phasing out lignite electricity generation by 2028 and reducing carbon-intensive activities, but Public Power Company (PPC) has even more ambitious goals, closing all its lignite power plants by 2023.
Specifically, Greece’s energy mix is accelerating its shift from lignite and oil to natural gas and a variety of renewable energy sources. This is partly driven by the rapid increase in the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies. In fact, according to BNEF, sourcing power from new onshore wind or solar power is more cost-effective compared to lignite or gas. Not only that but also it has become cheaper to build a new wind or solar power plant from the ground up than to run existing lignite assets, due to decreasing renewables costs. A very important fact reflecting this situation is that according to Greenpeace, on June 8th and 9th 2020, for almost two days, no lignite energy was produced to meet the energy needs of Greece.
Renewable energy in Greece
The usage of renewable energy sources has been impressively increasing since 2009, mainly explained by a considerable increase in wind and solar photovoltaics energy production plants, playing a crucial role in decreasing CO2 emissions per unit of GDP in Greece.
Noteworthy is the fact that in 2018, renewable energy sources accounted for 13% of total energy supply and 31% of electricity generation, which is higher than the respective average proportions reported by the OECD (10% & 26%). This is proof that Greece is on the right path of reaching important milestones, as the National Energy and Climate Plan 2021–30 set out the ambitious goal of 35% of the share of renewables over gross final energy consumption by 2030.
Energy Investor Interest
Currently, there is considerable interest from investors in obtaining up to 49% of HEDNO, the sole electricity distribution network operator in Greece. But investor interest does not only come from domestic investors. It also captures the interest of foreign investors who are increasingly interested in investing in Greece and its renewable energy capabilities.
In fact, Greece’s energy transition in the power sector has the potential to attract up to $33 billion in new investments by 2050.
Of this, 92% is expected to be allocated to zero-carbon technologies. Interestingly, a forecasted $3 billion will be brought in as new investment specifically in small and utility-scale batteries between 2030–2050.
Greece towards a renewable energy hub
To sum up, Greece has high competitive advantages attracting interest in renewable energy projects. The opportunities are endless for setting up renewable energy parks sourcing sustainable energy from wind, solar, and other renewable sources.