Greece: Power Grid Ran on 100% Renewables for First Time

For five hours last Friday, Greece's entire national grid ran on renewable energy. The news was announced by its independent electric utility operator, who hailed the achievement as a step toward adding more green energy to Greece's portfolio.

Greece: Power Grid Ran on 100% Renewables for First Time
Image credit: NPR

Facts

  • For five hours last Friday, Greece's entire national grid ran on renewable energy. The news was announced by its independent electric utility operator, who hailed the achievement as a step toward adding more green energy to Greece's portfolio.
  • Greece hopes to ultimately generate at least 70% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Besides environmental reasons, the move is intended to stabilize the nation's power grid and manage energy costs.
  • Greece already has a diverse energy portfolio — including natural gas, wind, hydro and solar power, as well as dirty fossil fuel lignite, or "brown coal." Greece also uses about one-third as much energy per capita as the US.
  • Although Greece's effort to increase renewable energy output is seen as a breakthrough, its energy security picture remains complex. To offset its reliance on Russian oil and gas, Athens had to increase imports of liquified natural gas and coal mining — setting back decarbonization efforts.
  • Europe's tenuous energy situation this winter also adds another dimension for Greece, as its tourism industry seeks to increase visitors from the UK fleeing soaring heating costs. Greece's foreign tourism minister, Vassilis Kikilias, said, “our doors are open 12 months round, our friends in northern Europe should know this. They should head here for the winter.”
  • This news comes amid planning between the Greek company Copelouzos Group and Egyptian officials to expedite an undersea cable between Egypt and Greece to deliver green energy from Egypt and other African nations. The project, designated as a high-profile effort by the EU, is expected to be complete in seven to eight years and support Greek industry and European consumers.

Sources: NPR Online News, Daily Kos, Euro, Independent, and Africa.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by One Green Planet. Despite the turbulence of global energy markets, Greece has persevered and joined an elite club — including the US State of California — to hit a 100% renewable energy milestone. This transition gives a sense of optimism — from solar-powered greenhouses in Spain to transforming coal mines to solar farms in Virginia, there's good reason for hope in pressing ahead for a more resilient and peaceful future.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Forbes. With the world's energy sector topsy-turvy because of the Ukraine War, Iran unrest, and OPEC+ production cuts, good energy news is welcome in the Eastern Mediterranean — including Greece. However, there's a risk of new conflict, too; energy partners Greece and Egypt are worried about Turkey's neo-Ottoman style of gas deals with Libya, including infringements on Greek sovereignty. There are reasons for hope but good reasons for caution.