Ladies and gentlemen,
We are truly blessed to live on a continent, in a union of States, which ensures peace and prosperity for its citizens and is at the forefront of the worldwide clean energy revolution. It is very gratifying that Europe’s largest economy, Germany, has been at the forefront of this revolution for years now and, at the same time, it is very important that Greece has now decided to play a leading part in the production of clean energy, exploiting its enormous comparative advantages (sunshine, wind potential, waterfalls/water reservoirs, etc.). And for that, we must congratulate the two governments.
The excellent relations between our two countries and the already successfully tested partnerships between Greek and German companies guarantee that solid and mutually beneficial work can be done for the citizens as well as the businesses of both countries.
As our Deputy Minister of Energy explained in detail in his speech that preceded mine, the Greek National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) sets up very ambitious targets for this decade, both in relation to the full delignification of our national energy balance , as well as in relation to energy savings and Renewable Energy Sources (RES). In essence, the Plan describes an expected investment ‘renaissance” of € 44 billion in the 2020-2030 period, particularly in the crucial, for our national economy and employment, sectors of RES, power networks and energy storage, which account for 43% of all planned NECP investments until 2030 .
In my opinion, the “backbone” of this investment “renaissance”, which creates huge investment opportunities and prospects for international cooperation, will be the implementation of large-scale projects in the above mentioned sectors, and more specifically:
• In electricity production from RES, mainly through large wind farms and photovoltaic parks, which usually have their own cable interconnection with the electricity network . A particular category of projects that should be given special emphasis in the present decade concerns offshore wind farms, both fixed-bottom and floating.
• In the electricity infrastructure of our power system, in particular the upgrading / expansion of transmission and distribution networks, in island interconnections and in international/cross-border interconnections with neibouring countries.
• In large-scale, centralised storage plants.
At this point, I would like to emphasize two, crucial in my view, points on the central theme of our panel, namely the contribution of RES to Greece’s National Energy Transition Plan:
1) This transition should, to the greatest extent possible, be based on domestic energy resources, notably RES and hydroelectric storage, as well as on energy technologies with high domestic, but also European, added value. Otherwise, we run the risk of substituting one highly polluting domestic fuel (the lignite) with another, less polluting but fully imported fuel (the natural gas), thus creating serious energy security of supply problems for the country, but also further burdening its foreign exchange and currency balance. The same negative effects will arise if, instead of focusing on high domestic value added investments in Greece, that will stimulate employment and bring parallel benefits to European energy technology and equipment companies, we decide to rely on energy products mostly imported from third countries(such as batteries, etc.).
2) Undoubtedly, the implementation of such an ambitious green investment program, as the one set out by the Greek National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the period 2020-2030 (and beyond), creates great opportunities for the formation and strong activation of joint business ventures between large Greek and European companies that have the appropriate know-how and experience. Such business partnerships should be based on the principle of reciprocity, meaning that the investment portfolios of the cooperating companies should incorporate joint venture projects originating in both countries (or more), in which these companies are based.
TERNA ENERGY is, for more than two decades now, the largest investor, domestic or foreign, in the field of renewable energy in Greece, while it also has a robust, ever expanding, investment presence in RES, both in the rest of Europe (Poland, Bulgaria, etc.), as well as in America (USA), being internationally the largest Greek RES company. Today, the company operates, constructs and develops RES projects with a total capacity of over 1,500 MW, and is heading full speed towards the milestone of 2,000 MW of RES projects in Greece and abroad. In addition, we are already developing new energy investments of € 1.5 billion in the Greek market (RES projects, energy storage plants, waste to energy facilities, etc.). It is worthwhile mentioning that a large part of the equipment for these projects (wind turbines, hydro turbines, power substations, etc.) comes from the German industry and manufacturers.
We are, therefore, perfectly prepared, positioned and ready for cooperating and creating synergies. We have successfully shown great business extroversion, which combined with our experience, shows our solid potential for cooperation in investment projects in Germany, as well. With the support of our two governments and with the proper incentives, we can implement a groundbreaking Greek-German Green Deal, which will become a model for wider business cooperation in Europe.