Academy intervenes on the energy issue

Following its declaration on tertiary education, the Athens Academy has taken a stand on the acute energy problem confronting Greece. In a statement that sums up an energy conservation conference held in November at the National Technical University of Athens, the Academy’s energy committee describes the prompt use of the country’s renewable energy resources as «imperative.» Curbing waste The committee’s proposals to save energy include the extension of public transport, the implementation of energy-saving measures in public buildings and the introduction of pricing measures that will curb waste. «The prompt use of Greece’s renewable energy sources and energy-saving measures are imperative,» the committee states. «And the country’s scientific and technological potential must be put to use as part of a strategic energy plan. Cultivating awareness of energy and the environment and of collective responsibility for them is also of the highest importance.» The energy committee deems it essential that an overall energy policy be created with the participation of agencies that are active in the energy sector. The agencies can help with formulating a national energy-saving program, keeping the public informed about energy output and the environmental consequences of energy use, educating and raising awareness on those issues, and creating solar and wind energy units. The Athens Academy recommends the dynamic promotion of energy science and technology through special programs of basic and applied research into materials with energy applications and into energy technology and economy. It also suggests implementing measures that can be used in public buildings and private housing to ensure immediate energy savings. These measures include the installation of insulation, devices to measure heat loss, and energy-saving programs that do not burden consumers since the energy saved covers the programs’ cost. The committee mentions the need to improve the output of power stations and minimize losses through transmission and distribution of electricity, and to reduce the demand for energy through the use of light bulbs and refrigerators that use less energy and through pricing measures that discourage waste. As for transport, the committee wants to see the public transport system expanded and vehicle traffic moving more smoothly with the help of automatic traffic control systems. The paper concludes with the need to «mobilize the scientific and technological potential of Greece.» Minimal output from wind parks Although Greece’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol mandates that 20.1 percent of electrical power in Greece should come from renewable energy sources by 2010, currently wind parks account for only 2 percent of electrical power produced domestically. Altogether Greece produces only 745 megawatts from renewable energy sources – 635 from wind turbines, 83 MW from small hydroelectric projects and 24 MW from biomass. The production of energy from photovoltaic cells is still in its infancy and does not significantly contribute to overall production. In other words, we are 3,000 MW short of the national objective. As those who work in the renewable energy field continue pointing out to the state, the installation of wind parks at key points in Greece alone can meet 23-30 percent of the demand for electrical power.