Too few alternative energy sources used

Greece is a country blessed with huge but unexploited reserves of potential for renewable sources of energy – long hours of sunlight, wind, considerable quantities of biomass (organic plant matter burned for fuel) and even wave action. Yet based on the latest official figures, Greeks get just 4.7 percent of gross energy consumption and 6.3 percent of electrical production from renewable sources. Greece is moving at a snail’s pace as other European countries such as Germany, Denmark and Spain are going full speed ahead. Greece currently imports 70 percent of its fuels; petroleum, which is both expensive and a pollutant, accounts for 57 percent of total domestic energy consumption (29.7 million equivalent tons of petroleum in 2002). The blame lies with politicians. Governments and state services have been hostile or indifferent about renewable energy as a result of pressure from the petroleum lobby. The international consulting and accounting firm Ernst and Young has downgraded Greece from eighth (in February 2004) to 13th place on a list of countries attracting investments in renewable energy sources. After a decade of missed opportunities to advance «green energy,» there is still time to catch up.