- Category: Politics
20 Jun 2012
- Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 11:19
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Facing the need for austerity measures at a time of financial difficulties, Greece should embrace renewable energy instead of importing oil and gas, according to Greek Energy Minister George Papakonstantinou in a report from the European Wind Energy Association. "At a time of austerity, Greek citizens cannot afford to support practices which prolong energy dependence," he says. "The choice of importing oil and gas versus producing renewable energy within the E.U., and encouraging clean energy exports among Member States, is obvious." He adds that renewables, especially solar and wind, have had lower investment costs for the past few years – debunking the myth of renewables being expensive. "Renewables are a competitive and sustainable energy option; they decrease the need for energy imports, and enhance energy security, along with establishing favorable conditions for sustainable development, and creating new jobs," the minister said. Greece has a renewable energy target of 18 percent by 2020, up from the previous 6.9 percent in 2005. At the same period, wind power should be covering 24.5 percent of total electricity consumption. Mr. Papakonstantinou predicts an excess of 2 percent in his national renewable energy plan. "I am confident that our national renewable energy targets will be achieved within the said timeframe and this includes the extra 2 percent," he said. Total renewable energy installed capacity has reached 2.5 gigawatts in 2011, with wind energy having the largest additions that year, and 25 percent more power, he added. More renewable energy is expected to come in with the approval of the ministry's "Greek Energy Roadmap to 2050," which is up for public consultation.