Greece: A newly founded and independent Energy Ministry heads the drafting of NREAP

Some recent personnel changes taken by the new Greek government makes you optimistic about the future of renewable energy policy in Greece. First, the government appointed Prof. Arthouros Zervos, long-term President of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), CEO of state-controlled Public Power Corporation (PPC), the country’s biggest electricity provider.

Equally important was the creation of the first independent ministry for Environment, Energy and Climate Change. The new Minister Tina Birbili is a strong supporter of environmental issues, according to the Greek Solar Industry Association (EBHE). She is also the initiator of the newly founded committee that is to draft the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP). The committee had its first meeting at the beginning of November. Its chairman is Professor Dimitris Lalas, who was member of the Greek delegation at the climate conference in Copenhagen.

Representing the renewable sector within the committee is the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) with Kostas Tigas and Myrsini Christou. One of the committee members, Nikos Charalambides, is also executive director of Greenpeace's Greek office. According to Christou, the committee formed three working groups to deal with the different sections of the action plan: Transportation, heating/cooling and electricity. First results are expected at the 15th of February. A draft version of the plan is going to be submitted to the government by the end of March.

EBHE applied for becoming a member of the committee, but has not received an answer yet. “We will try to cooperate with other market actors to help the committee draft the Action Plan,” Costas Travasaros announced during a December speech on behalf of EBHE at an association meeting organised by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) in Brussels.

EBHE also wants to get involved when it comes to publicly reviewing the draft law “Accelerating the development of renewable energy for combating climate change” published at the beginning of December (see www.opengov.gr/minenv). Article 10, “Measures to reduce energy consumption in buildings”, is of great importance to the solar thermal sector. Its second paragraph states that, depending on the climate zone, all new buildings are to cover 65 to 80 % of their hot water demand using solar thermal technology. This requirement, however, will be dropped if the household's energy needs are met by any other renewable based technology, geothermal or cogeneration. Stakeholders can submit comments and input on www.opengov.gr/minenv until the 15th of January 2010.

More information:
Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES): www.cres.org
Greek Solar Industry Association (EBHE): http://www.ebhe.gr/index_en.htm

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