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Greece Runs Entirely On Renewable Energy For The First Time in History

Wind turbine Greece
Wind turbine. Credit: Jason Blackeye / CC-Zero / Wikimedia Commons

Greece ran entirely powered on renewable energy for the first time in its history last week, according to the independent power transmission operator (IPTO).

On Friday, 7 October, for a period of around five hours, the country ran entirely on renewable power, reaching a record high of 3,106MWh at eight o’clock (GMT). This is a major milestone for Greek energy according to IPTO since ”For the first time in the history of the Greek electricity system, the demand was covered 100% from renewable energy sources.”

The IPTO  added that ”With the interconnections implemented by IPTO on land and sea, new electrical capacity is created for even greater RES [renewable energy sources] penetration that will make our energy mix even greener in the coming years.”

Renewables represented 46% of the nation’s power mix in the eight months leading up to August this year. That sum was up from 42% in the same period in 2021, stated the Greece-based environmental think-tank The Green Tank.

Green Tank called it, a “record of optimism for the country’s transition to clean energy, weaning off fossil fuels and ensuring our energy sufficiency.”

“European countries like Greece are rapidly accelerating away from fossil fuels and towards cheap renewable electricity. The milestone reached by Greece proves that a renewables-dominated electricity grid is within sight,” Elisabeth Cremona, an analyst at energy think tank Ember, told Euronews Green.

“This also clearly demonstrates that the electricity system can be powered by renewables without compromising reliability. But there remains more to do to ensure that renewables overtake fossil fuels in Greece’s power sector across the whole year.”

Greece’s energy transitio

Greece has cultivated a rich variety of renewable energy sources in recent years. The aim is  to avoid the use of non-renewables as much as possible. Islands such as Tilos, for example, are seeking to become completely energy-self sufficient through renewables.

Greece currently leads the Netherlands, Germany, France, the UK in fact as well as many other European nations in terms of renewable energy produced.

The country’s government has pledged to move away from traditional energy sources completely in the next eight years. It will do so by utilising only renewable forms such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

Solar power plant Tilos, Greece 2017
Solar power plant Tilos, Greece 2017. Credit: Ulrich Scherf. CC-BY-SA-4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Furthermore, Greece aims to more than double its green energy capacity. If all success, renewables will account for at least 70% of its energy mix by 2030. To hit that target, the government is seeking to attract around €30 billion in EU funds and private investments. These funds will also allow it to and upgrade its electricity grid.

Renewables ready to take off

PV Tech Premium has already written reports on how the Greek solar market is “about to take off”. This is due to the country’s PV sector benefits from rising demand for renewable off-taker agreements from corporations. The EU’s clean energy policies also play a part.

The European Commission has approved a €2.27 billion (US$2.56 billion) Greek scheme to support 4.2GW of installed renewables capacity. This was decided after assessing it in the context of EU state aid rules. The aim is to support electricity produced from various renewable energy sources both in and outside Greece. It would also include sources such as solar PV and solar-plus-storage.

The country’s target is 25GW of installed renewables capacity by 2030. That is up from today’s 10GW. What is more, IPTO has been investing in expanding the country’s power grid to boost power capacity. This will facilitate the penetration of solar, wind and hydro energy as well.

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