3 April 2012

Renewables - opportunity for Greece and EU

In this time of budgetary rigour, it is more important than ever for us to seize the economic opportunity renewables represent for the region - and for Europe as a whole, said Guenther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy, as speaking at a conference in Athens today.

"Renewable energy sources will play a major part in Europe's long-term energy development. Beyond decarbonization, they offer wider and equally important benefits," he said.

Indeed, renewables also deliver an important contribution to security and diversity of supply; and they offer major opportunities in terms of industrial innovation and job creation and can contribute to creating new competitive industrial sectors in Europe, with significant export potential for a growing world market, according to the Commissioner.

"This holds especially true for Greece and other EU countries most severely hit by the Eurozone crisis," the Commissioner told the Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Development in South Eastern Europe & HELIOS Project conference.

"Together we are working on a valuable agenda for Europe's economy and its citizens. One element of this agenda is, and will continue to be, the European renewable energy sector and in particular: decreasing our dependency on fossil fuel imports and their rising prices; sustaining technology leadership of European industries; and creating jobs all along the value chain of renewable energy installations from research, to production, project development, installation, operation and maintenance to decommissioning."

Renewables "no-regret option"

The Commission has recently published a 2050 Energy Roadmap, analyzing a range of policy options to largely decarbonise the European economy by 2050.

"One of the most important messages we get from this exercise is that renewable energy sources are a "no-regret option" and will in any case play an increasingly important role in our overall energy mix - going up to at least 55 percent of final energy consumption," Oettinger said.

This shows once again how the European decarbonisation policy and our industrial and growth policy, as just outlined, are mutually supportive.

"We are now taking these efforts a step further and we will be publishing before the summer a Communication on the renewable energy market that might be followed by legislative action. This Communication describes the current situation of renewables and launches the debate on the additional actions required up to 2020 and then towards 2030," he said.

"Our Greek colleagues are making important efforts at the moment to make the Greek renewable energy support scheme more cost-efficient, more financially stable, and thus more effective for overall economic growth."

The European Commission is pleased to be teaming up in that effort with Greece to unlock the enormous potential for renewable energy in this country.

"This is especially true, because the gradually increasing share of renewables will necessitate us making better use of the possibilities we have in Europe to join our forces," Oettinger said.

Helios project truly groundbreaking

Cooperation not only enables us to accomplish a task more efficiently, but is absolutely essential for the challenge of developing a sustainable energy system, where resources in different European regions can complement each other and where trade and increased market interaction will help to create a stable overall system, Oettinger said.

This is why the proposal of Greece to develop the Helios* project together with other member states and the European Commission has the potential to be truly groundbreaking.

"Helios is also a unique opportunity to demonstrate that renewable energy technologies like photovoltaics are becoming competitive in the near future through European cooperation. It could be the showcase project on the way to a truly integrated European market for electricity from renewable sources, while simultaneously helping the Greek economy to recover," he said.

"At the same time, the regional integration of major renewable energy projects needs to be combined with an adequate expansion of the electricity grid. For instance, the current infrastructure in Greece would not be able to manage the massive power flows generated by large renewable energy projects such as Helios."

"The development of such a trans-European grid will help to achieve two key objectives of the European Energy Policy: The completion of the internal energy market by 2014 and the end of energy islands by 2015," Oettinger said.

*Greece's EUR20 billion Helios solar project is designed to attract investment to install as many as 10 gigawatts of solar panels by 2050.

Bookmark and Share


Give feedback

To give any feedback, click:


Email to a friend

To email this article to a friend, click:



To subscribe to our mailing list, visit:



To unsubscribe mailing list, click:



Latest News


Alternative Energy reports
Healthcare Reports



News from the web

Press announcements