“Opportunities for pioneers”

The German environment ministry is helping Greece to expand its use of renewables. Jürgen Becker, permanent secretary for the environment, spoke to new energy about the plans.

new energy: What is your assessment of the current situation in the Greek energy sector?

Jürgen Becker: Greece is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Oil and diesel are used to produce electricity on many Greek islands. Many of the power plants are outdated and inefficient, and don’t meet modern environmental protection standards. It is very difficult to develop new power plant projects or to modernise existing plants in the current situation, as financing is not readily available for larger projects due to the current high risks. To make matters worse, the lack of openness in the market makes it difficult for new players to gain a foothold in Greece. However, there has been progress in the development of renewable energies thanks to funding similar to that provided in Germany under the Renewable Energy Sources Act. At the same time, Greece is by no means taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by wind and solar energy in particular. The country is one of the best locations in Europe in terms of wind and sun. Its islands enjoy plenty of both.

new energy: How does the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety plan to support the development of renewables in Greece?

Jürgen Becker: We plan to advise the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change on improving the conditions for the expansion of renewables. For example, this will include guidance on the necessary adjustments to the feed-in regulation for electricity from renewable sources, which is based on the German Renewable Energy Sources Act. We have agreed to collaborate closely on this topic.

new energy: To what extent does the Greek market offer opportunities for German renewables companies?

Jürgen Becker: The primary aim of our work is to make the Greek renewables market more attractive by creating stable conditions. German companies are in a good starting position, as many are already active on the Greek market and have experience there.

This is an abridged version of the interview – the full text is available in new energy issue 03/2013

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