Bob Menendez, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised Greece, saying that Greece “leads by example” in energy diversification.
In a pre-recorded message at the 1st East Macedonia & Thrace Forum, held in the northeastern Greek city of Alexandroupolis on Wednesday, the American Senator praised the significance of Alexandroupolis, a city that “serves as a major US military and NATO defense hub, and is now transforming into an energy hub, with a new liquefied natural gas facility.”
Menendez said that “Greece’s willingness to lead by example when it comes to energy is not only the definition of moral leadership, it makes sound economic sense,” as Greek innovations in solar and wind “are solidifying Greece’s leadership in this space, spurring greater economic opportunities for its people far into the future.”
Menendez: Greece embraces clean energy
Greece “is showing the world how embracing clean energy puts you on the cutting edge of innovation,” he emphasised.
The Eastern Mediterranean faces many challenges in today’s shifting geopolitical landscape, “from the threat of climate change and need for energy security, to dangerous leaders in neighboring Turkey or Russia,” Menendez said.
On his role in US-Greek relations, the Senator said that he is “proud to have been a long-time advocate” for these, and that “as the son of refugees who came to the United States in search of a better life,” he has a deep appreciation for the Greek-American community and their incredible achievements and contributions.
For these reasons, noted Menendez, so much of the legislation he has proposed and passed during his tenure in Congress has focused on strengthening the bond between the two nations.
This includes his Eastern Mediterranean Security & Energy Partnership Act, which authorized a new energy center to help accelerate the region’s move towards Renewables, and the US-Greece Defense & Interparliamentary Partnership Act, which helps expand upon our already strong alliance.
Furthermore, Menendez noted that he has spoken to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm “about concrete plans and moving forward, and will keep pushing to ensure there are plans in place.”
These efforts, he added, “will pay security dividends by making the region less dependent on fossil fuels from Russia and other autocracies.”
“So let’s keep building on the success we’ve already made together,” he highlighted, “and let’s celebrate our efforts to bring great security and prosperity to the Eastern Mediterranean, and to East Macedonia and Thrace in particular.”
Pyatt: Alexandroupolis transforms energy map in SE Europe
Speakers at the event organized by Olympia Forum included Greek and foreign political leaders, diplomats, academics, and business leaders.
Among the speakers was US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt who said that there is nothing more transformative than what is happening in Alexandroupolis.
He referred to the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the speedy completion of the collaborative project that occurred just as Russian leader Vladimir Putin started using Russian energy resources as a weapon.
This allowed Europe to navigate through winter while foiling Russia’s plans, he added.
The US State Department official and former Ambassador to Greece also referred to the IGB interconnector with Bulgaria, which was a lifesaver for Bulgarians when Russia cut off natural gas exports; the natural gas connector with North Macedonia; and the role of green energy in diversifying resources in Europe.
Diversification through Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), imported from the United States, served needs that arose after the Ukraine crisis, he said, adding that his country sent over 70 billion cubic meters of LNG to Europe, double the volume of the previous year, a large volume of which arrived in Europe through Greece.
With Qatar, Pyatt said, the US will remain one of the two largest LNG exporters in the coming years, and this will naturally connect them with the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis, which relates to the entire region’s supply and security.