Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister, George Stathakis sees Greece as a future energy hub for Southeastern Europe.
Speaking to Athens News agency on Sunday, during the inauguration of the Environment Ministry's stand at the 83rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Stathakis said that the current transformation of Greece's energy sector will turn Northern Greece into an energy hub for the Balkans and Southeastern Europe.
"We are developing renewable energy sources and natural gas in the next 10 years with many infrastructure projects, so that we can achieve the targets set by the European Union and the Paris Agreement on how we generate energy, along with major energy conservation projects that will also create a huge impetus in infrastructure works as well."
Stathakis noted that the energy market was changing, "with infrastructure and networks now staying under state control. This is our strategy and there is liberalisation for the energy markets and the energy exchange that in a year's time will completely change the consumer market and the way that large, small and private consumers buy energy and can affect the way that energy is produced.”
Referring to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) that will transport natural gas, Stathakis said it is the largest project underway with 550 kilometres of pipeline, proceeding according to schedule, which will start operating on a trial basis in 2020.
On the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB), he reported “satisfactory developments” and said the project had passed all the stages and was now awaiting the tender proclamations for its construction, so that it will also be ready by 2020.
With the signature of the agreements for exploiting the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis on Friday, he added, “all these are heading toward completion...this means that we will be ready to receive gas in many cities of northern Greece, where we have pledged to build infrastructure networks. At the same time, we are open to new plans and new connections, both of electricity and natural gas, between northern Greece and neighbouring Balkan countries, with the interconnection plans being developed now including Skopje,” he said.