ECONOMY

RES growth robust in crisis-hit landscape

Slow rates of growth in the use of renewable energy sources (RES) are picking up as power generated by photovoltaic systems nearly quadrupled in 2010, rising to 198 megawatts from 53 MW in 2009.

According to data released by the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry on Tuesday, total power produced by RES in 2010 rose 290 MW to 1,736 MW from 1,446 MW at the end of 2009.

New power coming from wind energy projects reached 131 MW in 2010, boosting the total to 1,298 MW, while there was a small increase in power from hydroelectric plants, according to the ministry?s figures.

Looking ahead, the ministry estimates that wind parks will generate at least an additional 300 MW of power in 2011 while photovoltaic systems will create 200 MW more energy, in estimates which could end up being conservative.

The number of permits approved by energy regulator RAE is also impressive.

At the end of 2010, RAE had rubber-stamped RES projects able to generate 18,819 MW of power, versus 8,360 MW at the end of the previous year. Most the approved projects relate to wind energy, followed by photovoltaic and hydroelectric power stations.

?This activity in new renewable energy projects and additional permits being issued will lead to projects in the medium and long term, which means that Greece will achieve the ambitious goal of sourcing 20 percent of the country?s energy from RES in 2020, benefiting the community and our national economy,? the ministry said in a statement.