Red light for the green transition


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In the societies of developed countries, an uninterrupted supply of energy has been taken for granted for decades. However last year, Europe for the first time in the 21st century considered – in the context of the possible effects emerging from the war in Ukraine and the ongoing tensions between the West and Russia over the supply of natural gas – what a daily life can suddenly mean without heating along with expected or non-expected blackouts.   

Fortunately the worst scenarios were avoided – partly due to the seasonally mild winter. However, European consumers were faced with dramatic increases in energy costs which also augmented inflation. All these events demonstrated the crucial role of energy at the international level.   

However, the temporary mildness in energy market should not lead us to complacency. As long as energy dependence on imported fossil fuels continues, it will be the sword of Damocles over our economic growth and social well-being.   

Today, when oil-producing countries but also multinational energy groups with decades of activity in fossil fuels, are in a rush to achieve their green transition, it is unthinkable for a country like Greece, with sunshine over 330 days a year, with rich wind potential in mountains and seas and with a geographical surface that favors the development of hydroelectric and pump-saving projects, to oppose in every way the 100% clean, domestic and free energy that nature provides.   

Nor is it possible to live in the year 2023 and have electricity grid operators worrying on a daily basis about grid stability just because investments in renewable energy storage have not yet progressed enough in order to harness excess energy whenever is needed. Especially nowadays where energy storage technologies are now fully developed and methods such as pumped storage ensure – in addition to large-scale storage – high domestic added value.   

In the last 18 months alone, wind farms in our country have reduced consumers’ electricity bills by 4 billion Euros, essentially financing through the Energy Transition Fund the subsidies provided by the Greek state. At the same time, with their participation in the energy production mix, they held down the prices of wholesale electricity market and ensured the energy sufficiency of the country.   

We cannot afford to leave our energy sources untapped, to apply horizontal blockades to the development of Renewable Energy Sources, and furthermore we cannot afford to interrupt the supply of clean and cheap energy towards our electricity system because we stay inactive when it comes to the development of energy storage.   

Clearly there is an urgent need to accelerate our efforts to eliminate our country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, make the most of our country’s comparative advantage in Renewable Energy Sources and transition via an organized and efficient manner towards a better energy future, providing a green light on the green transition.  

Manolis Maragoudakis, CEO of TERNA Energy, for Kathimerini’s special edition “CEO’S- Greece’s new virtuous economic cycle” .