Online dialogue: Renewable Energy – Biodiversity – Local communities
What is the role of renewables in the attainment of climate targets? What are the challenges and what are the impacts of their deployment? Why are local reactions often negative?
The Green Tank in cooperation with the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Greece records 6 different opinions regarding the deployment of renewables, aiming to approach in a wholistic way this critical issue of the development of renewables in Greece and the related challenges.
Science is clear: we have only a few years to mitigate the devastating impacts of the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity. Renewable energy sources, particularly the most mature (wind and solar energy), despite their recognized impacts, will have a central role in the transition to a sustainable future.
In Greece, however, the polarization of the public discourse surrounding the deployment of renewables, and particularly wind energy, is intensifying, making it difficult to find common ground and solutions. The main reason is that the discourse is not based on careful listening to the different positions in order to identify the differences, highlight the common elements and, ultimately, through sufficient interaction and consultation, allow for the emergence of synthesis and solutions.
The Green Tank in collaboration with the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Greece aims to approach this issue by giving the floor to all sides to present their opinions in a structured manner.
We recorded the viewpoints of six individuals from various sectors: energy, nature conservation, environmental non-governmental organizations, local authorities and local citizens’ movements:
- Konstantina Ntemiri, Environmental Policy Officer, Hellenic Ornithological Society
- Panagiotis Papastamatiou, CEO, Hellenic Wind Energy Association (ELETAEN/HWEA)
- George Maskalidis, Save Saos (Samothrace)
- Giorgos Anastasiou, Mayor of Thebes (Boeotia, Central Greece)
- Stavros Xirouchakis, Lab/Academic Staff, Museum of Natural History, University of Crete
- Alexandros Paraskevopoulos, Licensing & Environmental Manager, ROKAS Renewables
The participants answered the same four questions which concern varied aspects of the issue.
All interviews were completed during the period February-March 2021. We present all the responses per question, without montage. In this way, we seek to encourage those who will follow this online dialogue to learn from the different aspects of the issues, to reflect and to think about the issue wholistically.
Watch the preview video (make sure to turn on the subtitles in English):
Question 1: The European Green Deal aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Greece has supported this proposal, has developed its own Long-term Strategy to 2050, while at the same time, Greece has announced its decision to phase out lignite by 2028. In which energy technologies do you think that Greece must turn to in order to meet these targets and why?
Question 2: In your opinion, what are the most important challenges related to the greater deployment of renewables in Greece?
Question 3: In your opinion, what are the most important impacts of renewables on the natural environment or specific sectors of the economy? How can they be addressed? For example, should there be exclusion zones for renewables or should payments to producers of renewable energy be diversified so as to avoid installing renewables in areas of great biodiversity importance?
Question 4: Many local communities in Greece react to the installation of renewables. What do you think are the main reasons and what are the practices or policies that are necessary to overcome the obstacles?