The government’s recently unveiled draft bill on the promotion of renewable sources of energy (RES) came under strong attack by a host of interested parties yesterday. Representatives of local government, environmental organizations, and manufacturers of renewable energy systems told a press briefing that the draft, issued for consultation a month ago, is a «hostile act» to the environment, the national economy, the Kyoto Protocol and the future of RES in Greece. «The draft bill does not contribute to the simplification and speeding up of licensing procedures by cutting red tape. It is not in the direction of the greatest possible penetration of RES in power production,» said Christos Paleologos, general secretary of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE). Others called on the government to bring back an earlier draft, aired last year, which had received general acceptance. «In the last few years, the country took some steps in promoting RES. I don’t know why some invisible hand always enters the process and overturns everything,» said Giorgos Anemodouras of the Greek Group for the Spreading of RES. The president of the Greek Association of Power Producers from RES, Nikos Vasilakos, said plans submitted and approved in 2002 for the construction of wind parks with a capacity totaling 100 megawatts have been virtually shelved. Stelios Psomas, representing the Association of Photovoltaic Systems Companies, said if the country achieves the targets set for power production from RES by 2010, the economic benefit will amount to 4 billion euros. However, he charged that there was a reneging on the pricing of photovoltaic power. «The new bill reduces the rates for producers by 20-40 percent. In neighboring Italy, the rate is 44-55 cents per kw/hr but here the Regulatory Authority for Energy gave a price of 35 cents,» he said. Nikos Chrysogelos of the Mediterranean SOS network said Greece is projected to pay about 400 million euros annually to purchase emission rights. «We are living in an absurd situation. We are paying to pollute and destroy and give nothing to promote RES. The original draft bill,» he said, «provided for policies which would have given a substantial boost to the growth of RES.» Separately, the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) tomorrow will present the results of a project involving the application of simulated models of Emissions Trading & Renewable Energy Support Mechanisms (ETRES) in the Greek electricity sector, at the Holiday Inn hotel, 50 Michalakopoulou St, at 9.30 a.m. ‘Intense change’ ahead «The Greek electricity industry will enter a period of intense change in the near future, from 2005 onward in particular. A number of significant domestic and international developments will take place and have major impacts on the future structure and operation of the sector,» CRES said in a statement. These developments include the full liberalization of the Greek electricity market, including the introduction of the first gas-fired power plants, and the adoption of European Directive 2003/87/EC, which lays out the basis for an EU-wide emissions trading scheme. This will be mandatory for Europe’s largest industrial installations including utilities – an estimated 5,000 sites.