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 April 03, 2012
Greece touts green energy 2050 roadmap as key to economic recovery

 Greece's prime minister has touted renewable energy investments, including a €20bn solar initiative, as crucial to the recovery of the country's stricken economy, as the government launched plans that could deliver 100 per cent green electricity by 2050.

Speaking at a renewable energy and infrastructure development summit in Athens this morning, Lucas Papademos said investment in green energy was a "national priority" to boost growth.

He said the country hopes to become the EU's largest exporter of green energy by building the giant Project Helios, which involves ramping up Greek solar power production from 206MW in 2010 to 2.2GW by 2020 and up to 10 GW by 2050.

The government hopes the plan could attract up to €20bn of investment and help establish the country as a net exporter of solar power that assists other countries in meeting their EU renewables targets.

"In the last few years talk has centred on Greece's fiscal discipline," he said.

"No other OECD country has reduced its deficit by so much so quickly. But fiscal harmonisation isn't enough for development. The energy sector gives Greece an opportunity to become a hub for the European Union and third countries.

"The Helios project represents viable development and it will enable Greece to become the largest exporter in the EU of clean energy."

His comments were echoed by Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy, who urged Greece to seize the economic opportunity renewables could deliver.

"The proposal of Greece to develop the Helios project together with other member states and the European Commission has the potential to be truly groundbreaking," he said.

"Greece now has to demonstrate that it is possible to exploit the many hours of sunshine that it enjoys and to translate that into an economic benefit for Greece and those European regions that are not quite as sunny.

"Helios is also a unique opportunity to demonstrate that renewable energy technologies like photovoltaics are becoming competitive in the near future through European cooperation. It could be the showcase project on the way to a truly integrated European market for electricity from renewable sources, while simultaneously helping the Greek economy to recover."

Greece's Energy and Climate Change Minister, George Papakonstantinou, today also launched a draft renewable energy roadmap designed to ensure Greece meets EU targets to deliver 80 per cent emissions cuts by 2050.

The document sets out a series of scenarios for the deployment of renewable energy technologies and energy saving policies, concluding that existing policies are not ambitious enough to meet EU targets.

Under a moderate policy scenario, Greece would cut its emissions by 40 per cent by 2050 based on 2005 levels, but a more ambitious scenario including 100 per cent renewable electricity supply could see a 60-70 per cent carbon reduction.

Another scenario involving a raft of more modest environmental measures shows how Greece could cut its emissions and boost renewables at a lower cost by focusing on mature technologies.

The two ambitious scenarios would see renewables take up 60-70 per cent of gross final energy consumption by 2050, biofuels provide 31-34 per cent of transport fuels, and greater use of heat pumps in the residential and commercial sectors.