Energyear Greece came to Athens for the first time with the aim of boosting networking in the Greek renewable sector. Dozens of leaders gathered at one of the most relevant events in the industry. A country that has set a target of 80% clean energy in its energy mix by 2023 is also becoming an interesting destination for investors from around the world.
During the opening of the event, George Kremlis, Chair Bureau Espoo Convention, Chair Greek Initiative UN level on climate & culture, Member ESAC, EBRD and Honorary Director European Commission, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, was in charge of presenting the current scenario of the renewable industry in Greece.
Kremlis opened the event with a clear statement: "The choice of Greece is very well justified, as the country is becoming a very attractive one for the renewable energy market. We are becoming a hub for clean energy and green hydrogen, this vector will penetrate our lives and this should enter in our energy mix".
The expert added that the country is located in a strategic point of clean energy transport for the rest of Europe and emphasised projects with which Greece is betting on clean energy beyond its territory.
He mentioned, among others, the submarine electricity cable project that will connect Egypt to Europe via Greece and transport clean energy. But he also added that it has been a strategic partner for other regions such as North Macedonia or Bulgaria.
According to Kremlis, Greece is working on a cleaner future supported by projects that take storage into account and he referred to the great opportunities that offshore wind also adds.
He also highlighted that the new renewable projects, are meant to be long lasting and go further into the future, so they have been developed hand in hand with storage.
Kremlis wanted to highlight to the attendees of the event that in 2022 the investment in the renewable energy sector was protagonist above other sectors in the country and added that the signature of new contracts exceeded any situation, reaching a total number of 3671 with almost 4.6 GW that will be approved within 2023 and 2024.
With the target of 80% renewables in Greece's energy mix, Kremils explained that this government has set "the bar very high and it is something that will have to be preserved in the next governments". However, he pointed out that in some areas of the country there is a lack of social acceptance of renewables. "But we have to work on making them understand that renewables will enrich the energy mix. We have to work locally with the communities and educate them on the subject," he said.
At the end of his presentation at Energyear Greece, Kremlis explained that the country is also working very hard on rooftop solar projects. "We will have self-consumption with the possibility to store it or feed the excess into the grid," he explained.
He added that Greece is also preparing to accelerate sustainable mobility. "The aim of the new government's agenda is to have 20% of private vehicles low or zero emission by 2027 and to have a network of almost 9,000 public chargers for electric vehicles".
Increasingly numerous and ambitious targets
Of course, the good data on the development of the renewable matrix in Greece brings with it challenges and responsibilities for energy companies. This was discussed during the panel 'What are energy companies doing to integrate into greece's renewable electricity matrix? ', with the participation of Konstantinos Natsis, Director of Construction Department, PPC RENEWABLES; Sotiris Kapellos, Chief Operating Officer, HELLENIQ ENERGY and Chairman of HELAPCO; Ioannis Psarros, Head of Commercial Office, ENEL Green Power Hellas; Dimitris Karakostas, Energy Trader, HERON; and Vassilis Triantafyllos, Special Advisor to the Secretary General for Energy and Mineral Resources, Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy. The moderator was Vitor Rodrigues, Chief Technical Service Engineer of LONGi.
During the panel, the deep change that has taken place in the Greek energy matrix in recent years was analysed, how it is growing (especially solar and wind energy) and how this implies the adoption of new challenges not only for the coming years, but for the coming decades.
Speakers highlighted the need for more investment and innovation, as well as the development of PPAs and a stable financial framework. Triantafyllos highlighted how Greece's ambitions have increased, even beyond what is recommended by the European Union. He spoke about the secure growth of renewable energy in the country and the need for investment to anchor this boom.
In addition, they commented the record figures that solar energy has reached in the country, highlighting the good geographical characteristics of the region. The need to define the framework and diversification of the energy matrix was highlighted, as well as the need to optimise the performance of plants with accessible technology at affordable prices.
The speakers also added a key topic in all discussions on renewable energy: storage. For them, energy storage is necessary for the further development of the country's goals, being the ultimate key to the continued expansion of Greece's energy resources.