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Greece Set to Become Major Energy Exporter to Europe

Greece electricity exporter
Over the last several years, Greece has emerged as a regional energy hub. Credit: Varistor60, CC BY-SA 4.0

Greece could generate billions of euros for its economy by developing an electricity connection to central Europe and exporting the country’s vast potential in renewable energy to consumers in Germany and elsewhere, according to a recent study.

According to the study by consultancy KPMG, the creation of the South East-North Electricity Highway – a project that Greece raised with its partners in Europe last year – could generate between €6.2 billion and €17.5 billion for the Greek economy, while also lowering electricity prices for consumers and enhancing Europe’s energy security.

“The development of an interconnection to central Europe could be the first electricity highway in the EU and part of the Priority Electricity Corridor of Central Eastern and South Eastern interconnections,” the study notes.

“It targets the integration of markets, the reduction of electricity prices, the expansion of RES electricity, and EU’s overall security of supply.”

Greece electricity exporter
The South East-North Electricity Highway. Credit: KPMG

Liquefied natural gas

Over the last several years, Greece has emerged as a regional energy hub, serving both as a transshipment point for natural gas supplies to Southeast and Western Europe and as an exporter of electricity to its neighbors.

On Saturday Greece received the first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) at Alexandroupolis

The FSRU will be connected to the 28-kilometer-long high-pressure subsea and onshore gas transmission pipeline, which, once operational, will deliver natural gas to the Greek Transmission System (NNGTS) and onwards to the final consumers in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, North Macedonia, Serbia and further to Moldova and Ukraine to the East and Hungary and Slovakia to the West.

With this project, Greece got its second LNG import facility, adding to DESFA’s import terminal located on the island of Revithoussa.

Greece plans electricity connections with Egypt, Cyprus and Israel

That role is due to grow as the country’s national grid operator upgrades power connections with Bulgaria, Italy, North Macedonia, Albania and Turkey, and presses ahead with plans to connect Greece’s grid with Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.

The Greece-Egypt project involves the electrical interconnection of the Egyptian and Greek Electricity Systems through submarine cables and high-voltage direct current links, with a capacity of 3,000MW. It aims to transport 100 percent green energy from Egypt to Attica and consequently to the European market. It has obtained EU Project of Common Interest status and is expected to be completed by 2028.

The Greece-Cyprus-Israel/Euro Asia interconnector is a project to end Cyprus’ energy isolation while connecting Israel to the EU. Its implementation timeline is until 2027 for the Crete-Cyprus segment and until 2029 for the Cyprus-Israel segment.

The project with a budget of 1.9 billion euros, has attracted the interest of major investors inside and outside of Europe.

The KPMG study also notes that Greece has led the rest of Europe in greening its power-generating sector by sharply reducing its use of lignite as a fuel source and, at the same time, ramping up production from renewable sources, particularly solar power.

“Greece is enacting extensive reforms within its energy sector to promote decarbonization and encourage the development of competitive markets. In absolute terms, the power generation sector in Greece has decreased its CO2 emissions by more than 58 percent compared to 2010 levels,” the report notes.

“This is mainly attributed to the large decrease in lignite generation and the uptake of renewable energy. Additionally, it can be noted that Greece’s previously mentioned reduction of 58 percent is significantly higher vs the 21 percent of the EU27 average.”

Speaking at the ministerial Conference of the International Energy Agency (IEA) earlier this week Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy Alexandra Sdoukou said that in just four years Greece doubled the installed capacity of renewable energy plants in the country, accounting for 50 percent of electricity generation, while the target for 2030 is to reach 80 percent.

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