Nikos Mantzaris spoke with journalist Sofia Fyka on radio Channel 1 of Piraeus about the energy crisis and the measures that must be taken in view of the difficult winter we have ahead of us.
First of all, he explained that the crisis we are experiencing, which has escalated since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, is due to Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The solution therefore lies in phasing them out as quickly as possible and switching to energy savings and renewable energy sources (RES). He referred to evidence that this is already happening in practice. In particular, from the beginning of 2022, electricity generation from RES is exhibiting the largest increase in Europe, filling, to a greater extent than lignite and fossil gas, the gap caused by the decline of nuclear and hydro. But also at the planning level, EU Member States are revising their national targets by increasing the contribution of renewables and reducing that of fossil fuels. This shift is also confirmed by the fact that the vast majority of the resources of the European Commission’s REPowerEU crisis response plan are being channeled into energy savings, renewable energy and energy storage projects.
As far as Greece is concerned and in view of this year’s difficult winter, he stressed that we must move away from measures subsidizing the fossil fuels that are being implemented since last year and turn towards subsidizing energy savings. In addition, resources should be channeled into projects that will have a long-term effect, such as energy upgrades, replacing fossil gas and heating oil burners with heat pumps and installing solar self-generation systems utilizing net metering schemes.
In closing the interview, he agreed with the journalist’s observation that Europe was slow to react in the right direction. This is evidenced by the EU’s decision in March to move away from the dominant doctrine that fossil gas must play the role of the transitional fuel in EU’s energy transition towards clean energy. In particular, within two weeks of the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the EU with its REPowerEU plan more than doubled its target for reducing fossil gas consumption by 2030 (from -30% to -64%), whereas it could have decided to do so years ago.
You can listen to the full interview (in Greek) here