Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis floated a plan to export renewable electricity from his country, Bulgaria and Africa to Europe through new interconnections, with a focus on the Western Balkans.
Greece’s new initiative to transfer electricity from renewable sources through the Western Balkans was presented today at a European summit. It involves the construction of onshore and offshore interconnections in the wider region.
It should be noted that Greece already has more planned renewable energy projects than it needs to cover its goal for 2030. According to the country’s latest National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), about 15 GW of new renewables is going to be installed before the end of the decade. However, producer certificates are about to reach 100 GW.
It means both investors and the government are interested in exporting surplus energy to other European countries, both in the Balkans and beyond. It includes other producers in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania that will be able to take advantage of the interconnections.
New interconnections to run through Western Balkans
The government in Athens focuses on interconnection projects such as the Euroasia Interconnector (Israel-Cyprus-Greece), GAP and GREGY (Egypt-Greece) as well on upgrading existing links to Albania, Bulgaria and Italy.
Specifically, the Greek plan aims at a 3 GW corridor from Greece to Albania, which can be upgraded to 9 GW in the future. From Albania, Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO or Admie) is examining two possible routes: one would be land-based, crossing Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia to reach Austria and south Germany. The second route is offshore, from Albania’s coast to Slovenia and then to Austria and south Germany.
According to Mitsotakis, the new interconnectors need to reach the countries of the Western Balkans, where the development of renewables still lags behind the rest of Europe. Therefore, new connections can help these nations access green energy, as well as use their networks as an intermediary to transfer energy further north to Austria and Central Europe. According to the government in Athens, there are many financial and energy benefits for all sides .
Tsafos: Effort to gain political and financial support
According to the PM’s energy advisor Nikos Tsafos, the energy crisis has led to a redesign of the energy corridors in Europe. From now on, the East-West axis is less important and the North-South axis is highlighted. Greece will aim to invest in the new interconnections and gain support from the European Union, both politically and financially.