The Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, inaugurated a new solar park this Wednesday. It is the largest system with two-sided, or bifacial, panels in the whole of Europe.
Mitsotakis pledged to speed up permits for renewable energy projects as the country seeks to wean itself off polluting and costly imported fossil fuels.
Greece aims to almost double its installed capacity from renewables to about 19 gigawatts by 2030. This could be revised upwardly as part of the European Commission's fresh drive to accelerate the transition to green energy and end reliance on Russian gas by 2027, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Hellenic Petroleum is one of the largest oil companies in the Balkans but claims to be undergoing a transformation into clean energy. It has installed the largest solar park in Greece and also hints that it may add battery storage too.
The PM also criticised main opposition SYRIZA for hypocrisy and crocodile tears over the phasing out of lignite mining and use, noting that the transition was inaugurated 10 years ago with the incremental removal of old electricity production units, without any preparation for the post-lignite era. The so-called violent transition from lignite and the availability of cheaper lignite is a myth, he said.
According to HELPE's CEO Andreas Siamisis, the total benefit from the reduction in natural gas imports by the new photovoltaic park in Kozani is estimated at 80-100 million euros annually. Additionally, he said, the park can:
- produce 350 GW hours of clean energy every year, equivalent to the consumption by 75,000 households
- provide income for local government, households and businesses amounting to 600,000 euros per year
- reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tonnes per year, corresponding to 110,000 hectares (1.1 mln stremmas) of forest
- reduce energy costs at the national level, as the price at which energy will be sold in the system will be fixed at 57.72 euros per MWh for the next 20 years.
As Siamisis added, the photovoltaic investment totalled 130 million euros, with a national added value share of 35 pct, while during its construction 350 jobs were created.