ATHENS – In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, Greece has rushed to wean off Russian energy supplies and transition to sustainable and alternative sources. The New Democracy government has recommended that the European Union adopt green energy measures, including boosting north-south corridors to better connect areas with high levels of wind and solar power generation, according to Bloomberg.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will submit the proposal to EU leaders, as the bloc as a whole wants to move away from Russian sources amid fears they could be used as a political blackmail weapon. The Greek non-paper also calls for better connections in the Western Balkans, where solar and wind generation still lags behind coal. It proposes a faster permitting process and a European Grid Facility to fund the rollout of network improvements.
The EU aims to attain climate neutrality by the middle of the century, including a massive rollout of renewables this decade. However, there are concerns that grids aren’t well enough equipped to withstand a transition to more intermittent sources of power, such as solar and wind. About 600 gigawatts of wind and solar projects are held up awaiting connection to the grid in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. This represents about 85% of 2030 targets, but the cost could be prohibitive.
To address these concerns, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, has proposed plans to scale up domestic production of eight “strategic net-zero technologies,” including those to boost the power grid. It is imperative to redouble our efforts to expand and strengthen Europe’s electricity grid, according to the document seen by Bloomberg. Investment in grids is below what is needed for a net-zero energy system, it added.