Greece Launches Offshore Wind Development Plan

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Greece took a significant step on Tuesday toward the development of its inaugural offshore wind farms by outlining areas for private development in a preliminary plan. This move is part of the conservative government's strategy to reduce the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

As a nation surrounded by the sea and blessed with consistent, robust winds, Greece has a strong potential for energy production. In the previous year, over 50% of its electricity was generated from onshore wind, solar, and hydro sources, while the remainder was produced from carbon-emitting natural gas, coal, and oil.

Greece has set its sights on achieving a minimum installed offshore wind capacity of 2 gigawatts by 2030, equivalent to one-tenth of its onshore capacity.

The draft plan encompasses 25 designated development areas in the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean seas. These areas will become accessible in two phases, with some becoming available between 2025 and as late as 2032, and others at a later stage, according to the Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (HEREMA), the program's overseer.

These zones collectively cover a vast area of 1,047 square miles (2,711 square km) and are estimated to have a minimum capacity of 12.4 gigawatts. Most of the zones are deemed suitable for floating wind technology, HEREMA noted.

Energy and Environment Minister Theodore Skylakakis emphasized the national significance of these projects, stating, "The development of these projects is a national priority not only because it will contribute decisively to our energy independence, but also because it enables us to export green energy in the future."

However, environmentalists have raised concerns about the potential impact on biodiversity, particularly during the construction and decommissioning phases, suggesting that these farms should avoid ecologically sensitive areas.

HEREMA reassured that the plan took into account factors such as environmentally sensitive regions, national security, navigation routes, culturally significant areas, and tourist activities.

According to the Hellenic Wind Energy Association (ELETAEN), Greece would need investments exceeding 6 billion euros ($6.34 billion) to achieve its 2-gigawatt target.

The preliminary plan, which extends until 2032, designates ten eligible areas for offshore wind farm installations, including locations near Crete, Rhodes, the central Aegean Sea, and the Ionian Sea, with a combined capacity of approximately 4.9 gigawatts.

The final approval of the plan is anticipated by the end of the year, with the official demarcation of designated areas set to take place at the end of 2024, as per HEREMA's statement.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024