Greece aims to take advantage of a large power corridor to transfer green energy northwards and grow renewables.
More than ten years ago, the Greek government proposed a green energy corridor to export renewable electricity from its Western Macedonia province all the way to Germany. The so-called Sun Project did not materialize, but now there is a new and similar initiative, to interconnect indirectly with Austria.
Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas revealed that he has proposed the 9 GW project to Austria to take advantage of Greece’s rich renewable energy potential and help Central Europe reduce its dependence on natural gas. Renewables are the solution to the energy crisis, not the problem, he said.
Skrekas: Renewables are not the problem, but the solution
According to Greek power transmission grid operator IPTO, 10 GW of renewable energy facilities are in operation. There are also 11 GW to 12 GW in projects with connection permits, which means a total of 22 GW is underway. The revision of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) is expected to aim at 25 GW of renewables by 2030, which brings to the conclusion that only limited capacities will be added despite the high investor interest.
Of course, the 12 GW with connection terms is not expected to be realized entirely since many investors only plan to sell their licenses to third parties while others won’t be able to finance their projects.
New corridor to become tool to grow renewables
Still, both IPTO and the Greek solar association, SPEF, believe that given Greece’s limited electricity demand, a high target for renewables makes no sense just on a national scale. The solution is to build the green electricity plants and sell their excess power abroad, especially in bigger markets, for instance in Central Europe.
This is where the new power corridor comes in to provide the avenue for renewable energy.
Moreover, it would be able to transfer green electricity not just from Greece, but also from North Africa and the Middle East. The EuroAsia Interconnector project is already underway to connect Cyprus with Crete and mainland Greece, while another endeavor, called EuroAfrica Interconnector, is planned to transfer power from Egypt.
Last but not least, Greek renewables could provide green energy to all countries between Greece and Austria, meaning that the Western Balkans could find a new source of cheap electricity to cover their needs.