Ambitious energy plan unveiled

Investments in renewable energy sources (RES) are seen reaching 16 billion euros by 2020 in order for the country to meet its energy goals, according to the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry. In a plan unveiled by the ministry yesterday, 20 percent of the country’s power will be produced by RES by 2020, which includes 40 percent of electrical power coming from green energy sources. By the end of 2020, it is estimated that 15,000 megawatts of RES will have been installed, up from 4,500 MW in 2010. The largest chunk of green power will come from wind farms that will produce 7,500 MW of energy, while solar power systems will generate another 2,500 MW. Biomass energy production is seen reaching 250 MW, with another 120 MW coming from geothermal sources. With the implementation of the plan needed to achieve goals set for 2020, the country will need to change the electrical energy mix it produces, placing renewable energy sources well ahead of lignite as future power providers. For this to happen, however, investment activity must pick up to unprecedented levels for Greece. Every year, an additional 1,500 MW of green power must be included in the system, estimates show. Last year, just 118 MW was added. Once the investments have been implemented, according to the ministry, there will be a benefit of 1.3 billion euros for the 2010-20 period due to the reduction in costs from carbon emission trading. The plan to achieve the goals has been put up by the ministry for public discussion until June 28. At the start of July it will be sent to the European Commission for any further changes. Industry sources have described it as being ambitious, saying that significant investments in networks need to be completed in order to transport the larger amounts of RES power produced. In order for the necessary investments to be completed, tariffs need to be raised by about 40 to 45 percent, industry sources added.