ECONOMY

Electricity production alternatives

Wind energy will be dominant among renewable energy sources in Greece until at least 2010, a Regulatory Authority for Energy report released this week said. By the end of the decade, Greece will be able to live up to the demands of the European Union’s Directive 2001/77 that 20.1 percent of its electricity consumption comes from renewable energy sources. A significant proportion of this (7-8 percent) will come from large hydroelectric stations, which have been operating for decades, but it will be mostly wind energy which will develop in the coming years, the report says. The Regulatory Authority recommends that electricity distributors – in Greece’s case, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) – in effect subsidize renewable energy source companies by buying their product at fixed prices. A competitive buying process, it says, will only be feasible when alternative modes of electricity production have been well established. Greece deregulated the electricity production market in early 2001. Until the end of that year, a total of 1,003 applications for electricity production using renewable energy sources had been submitted. Of these proposals, 696 would use wind as their energy source, 255 involve small hydroelectric projects, 33 would use biomass, 13 solar energy and six geothermal energy. The Regulatory Authority is likely to approve less than 10 percent of the applications, on the basis of their financial viability. Many, but not all, projects will be partly subsidized through state and EU funds. As for wind parks, rows of generators transforming the force of wind into energy, the report estimates that, in order to be viable, they must be located in places where average wind speed is at least 6 meters per second.