Looking ahead to 2023, Nikos Mantzaris, in his article “Lessons learnt in 2022 should be our compass for 2023” describes the rapid developments brought by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis as well as the structural changes that are now irreversibly redirecting Europe and Greece on the path of clean energy.
Focusing on Greece, he points out the fact that in recent months, renewables, according to ADMIE’s data, became the first source of electricity production, with a significant contribution to the containment of energy prices and the gradual reduction of the dependence on the polluting and expensive fossil fuels.
The latter, as Nikos Mantzaris points out, also shattered the dogma that treats fossil gas as the transitional fuel. According to The Green Tank’s analyses, the country managed to reduce its fossil gas consumption by 19% compared to the previous year (-33% during the last 4 months), while it almost eliminated its dependence on Russian gas. At the same time, there has been a significant reduction in electricity imports as the combined result of the drop in the overall electricity consumption and the progress in renewables.
The country’s ability to ensure its energy sufficiency by relying increasingly more on renewable energy sources makes any proposal for a return to lignite unnecessary as this would have dire consequences not only for the climate and public health, but also for the economy.
Another breakthrough for the country’s energy system during 2022 is its gradual decentralization, since, according to the data by the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO), an increasing number of citizens are taking a leading role in the energy transition by submitting applications for self-production of electricity from renewables, either as isolated households and businesses or collectively through energy communities.
With these data now shaping the landscape of a green, autonomous and democratic energy system, Nikos Mantzaris concludes his article by highlighting the basic conditions for the country to remain on the path of green transition and climate progress, without deviations:
- Modernization and development of electricity grids for new renewable energy projects
- New electricity storage infrastructure
- Development of a modern national spatial plan for the proper sitting of renewables which would ensure the adequate protection of the country’s unique biodiversity
- Development of an ambitious revised National Energy and Climate Plan.
- Allocation of available financial resources to projects that will permanently reduce the carbon footprint and shield citizens from the current and future energy price crises instead of continuing to subsidize the use of fossil fuels.
This article was published on 22 December 2022 and is available on energypress.gr (in Greek).