Renewables

Greek renewables breach record, leading to historic emissions low

Greek renewables breach new record, leading to historic low in emissions

Photo: adege on Pixabay

Published

May 29, 2024

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Published:

May 29, 2024

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Renewables surpassed fossil fuels in Greece’s power production for the first time in the first four months of 2024, reducing the power sector’s emissions to a new low.

According to Green Tank, renewable energy sources plus large hydro accounted for 8.09 TWh of total production from January through April, while natural gas, lignite and oil contributed 498 GWh less and emissions dropped.

The renewables output jumped 21.4% on an annual basis.

Greek renewables breach new record, leading to historic low in emissions

As a result of many days with near-zero and negative hourly prices in the wholesale market, Greece’s imports fell by an unprecedented 2.22 TWh, turning the country into a net exporter.

Curtailments also breached the record in the first four months, with 308 GWh, which is more than in entire 2023. Green Tank estimates that without the curtailments, Greece would have been able to reduce its power imports by 81%.

Carbon intensity falls steeply

In another notable development, carbon intensity in electricity production extended its decreasing trajectory of the last ten years. When the third phase of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) commenced in 2013, it amounted to over 500 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. Emissions peaked at 875 grams in 2014. Last year they fell to 315 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour

Moreover, the average so far in 2024 has weakened to just 268 grams as a result of phasing out lignite and a higher renewables share in the country’s production mix.

Against the five-year average, emissions in the first four months decreased by 2.45 million tons or 35.2%. The decrease came from all three fuels. The largest one was in lignite, 2.18 million tons or 55.2%.

It is noteworthy that in the first four months of 2019, at the beginning of the five-year period, emissions from lignite plants (6.78 million tons) were almost four times higher than in 2024. The second-ighest reduction in emissions was registered in the production of electricity from oil (0.18 million tonnes or 9.9%), followed by fossil gas (0.09 million tonnes or 4.1%).

It should be noted that in May lignite plants have stopped participating in the day-ahead market altogether, after the end of the district heating season in regions such as Western Macedonia.

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