ECONOMY

Energy trouble for Greece

The European Commission yesterday issued its final warning to Greece before taking recourse to the European Court over two violations of EU legislation, on environmental protection and energy. The first case concerns the directive about the «energy performance» of buildings and which introduces the so-called «energy certificate.» This is intended to certify the degree to which every building respects the directive’s clauses about saving energy and how much it consumes in lighting, heating and air conditioning. Member states, which should also monitor the correct operation of the heating and air-conditioning systems of buildings, had until last January to adopt the directive, but Greece, Cyprus and three other EU members have failed to do so or explain why. Athens also received a final warning about its «negligence» in sending its annual report on the use of biofuels which was due on July 1, 2005. The EU biofuels directive suggests that 2 percent of member states’ petrol and diesel market be composed of biofuels in 2005, rising to 5.75 percent in 2010. The Commission has undertaken to report on progress toward the 2005 reference value and targets later this year, which requires all state reports to come in time. Energy Commissioner Andris Pielbags also noted that the deadline for the 2006 report expires on Saturday. Stronger grid Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas stated yesterday that the Greek grid is stronger this year and can cover greater power demand than last year’s peak of 9,650 megawatts, so an electricity blackout can be avoided. Sioufas defended power-saving measures in the public sector, to be applied from next Monday (July 3) until August 5, noting that the peak of demand concerns only 30 hours per year but requires the operation of a plant costing 250 million euros. He also said that a new institutional framework on renewable energy sources, to become law this week, «will start a new era in renewable sources through the installation of electricity-producing plants and the creation of system production units in Greece.»