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Society

Energy Bills Push Greeks to Wood-Burning Stoves, Solar Systems

September 18, 2022

ATHENS – Doubled electricity bills – being subsidized by the government – and the prospect of heating source supplies being curtailed in the winter have driven more Greeks to look for wood- burning stoves and alternatives.

The European Union has an energy crisis that seems to get worse in the wake of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia that has caused turmoil in the market and Russia supplying 40 percent of the bloc’s needs.

Internet searches on the shopping site Skroutz in Greece found that in the first 10 days of September that wood-burning stove hunts were up 318 percent compared to the same period in 2021, said Kathimerini.

It was also up 122 percent for pellet stoves and 107 percent for fireplaces amid warnings from the New Democracy administration that the country could be facing a cold and dark winter with less energy.

Searches for electric fireplaces fell 1 percent and natural gas users are particularly susceptible this year because unlike those using heating oil they won’t get as much state aid.

People are already stacking up firewood in anticipation of a tough winter and many buildings with multiple households more often go without buying heating oil.

The firewood orders are up 500 percent but those in the trade said it’s spiked so sharply that the commodity also could be in short supply by the winter, leaving people without it.

The demand for wood has also driven up the price by as much as 40 percent with the cost per cubic meter going from 100 euros ($100.16) to 140 euros ($140.23) so far.

The newspaper said that’s making the government look at ways to hold down price increases but not put a cap on the cost, to set a profit margin and requirement to report inventory.

With as much as 25 percent of an electric bill going toward heating water there has been a rise in people seeking solar powered heaters, Greece having abundant sunshine but relatively little solar usage.

Only three out of 10 households in Greece have solar water heaters while the rate in Israel and Cyprus is 90 percent, the limited use in Greece already saving 650 million cubic meters of natural gas annually needed to generate electricity.

“A solar water heater system covers annual hot water needs by more than 80 percent. If we had not installed solar water heaters and used electricity, at least three additional units of equivalent capacity of the Megalopolis lignite center would have had to be built,” said Vassiliki Drosou, head of the Thermal Solar Department at the Center for Renewable Sources and Energy Saving, told the paper.

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