Call for cleaner energy

The environmental group Greenpeace yesterday criticized the Greek government for doing too little to develop environmentally friendly energy sources, despite Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s pledge to do so. «We’re sick of wish lists,» the head of Greenpeace’s Greek branch Nikos Charalambidis told AFP. He was referring to Simitis’s pledge, made in mid-September, that 20 percent of domestically generated electricity would be produced by green sources by 2008. According to official figures, less than 2 percent of Greek energy output is produced by clean sources. In an open letter to Simitis, Greenpeace said the Greek government was dragging its feet in licensing new generators powered by wind, water, solar energy or biomass. It also said Athens offered no incentives for their introduction. «How can you achieve the 20 percent target within four years when there are no distribution networks available for them at all?» the open letter said, urging Simitis to press state-owned electricity monopolist Public Power Corporation (PPC) to roll out such a grid. PPC, a hugely profitable enterprise, produces two-thirds of its energy output by burning cheap lignite. With 66 million tons annually extracted at the company’s two mines in western Macedonia and the Peloponnese, PPC is the EU’s second-largest lignite producer. (AFP)