ATHENS — In an article published by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Monday, entitled "Strategic shift towards green energy: the roadmap for the transition to a sustainable economic model of low environmental footprint", Minister of the Environment and Energy, Costas Skrekas, outlined the government's plan for a more sustainable economic model.
"How can we turn today the serious global environmental and climate challenges into an opportunity for Greece? The answer is clear: Through a strategic shift towards green energy and improving energy efficiency, with a strong social, environmental and economic impact.
On our way to a green recovery for our country, with 38 pct of the resources of the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan "Greece 2.0" dedicated to this central pillar, the energy sector undoubtedly occupies a key role. The energy and climate goals that we have set, and which have been reflected in the National Plan for Energy and Climate, are ambitious and at the same time realistically achievable. And we are moving forward, with a coherent and integrated network of targeted reforms and investments, toward the necessary energy transition, with environmentally friendly Renewable Energy Sources (RES) occupying a leading position in the energy mix of our country. Our goal is the largest penetration of RES in electricity generation with a rate of over 60 pct by 2030.
In this direction, we have already proceeded with the simplification of the first phase of the licensing process, while the second phase will follow, with the submission of the relevant bill in Parliament in the coming months. Also, by June, we will notify the European Commission of our request to promote green bilateral contracts (PPAs), to reduce energy costs in energy-intensive industries. In addition, we are investing in energy storage technologies, which will be the next big revolution in the field of RES energy. Funds of 450 million euros from the Recovery Fund have been committed to finance these projects, such as batteries and pumped storage systems. Already, globally it is estimated that the cost of batteries will decrease at a rate similar to that of photovoltaic panels. At the same time, by June, we will have completed the elaboration of the institutional framework for offshore wind farms, for which there is already a strong international investment interest and especially for the floating wind farms that are environmentally-friendly, as on the one hand they do not affect the seabed and on the other hand do not cause visual disturbance.
Very high on our green agenda is, of course, the acceleration of the energy upgrade of public and private buildings. The very successful "Save – Autonomy" programme, with multiplier benefits for households, employment and the real economy, will continue, but will also be strengthened with more resources. Along with a new cycle for housing, with more targeted criteria and special care for our financially vulnerable fellow citizens, by the summer we will announce a programme for small and medium enterprises, which will be able to benefit the tourism sector that has been significantly affected by the health crisis. By 2030, we aim at the energy upgrade of 600,000 public and private buildings, with funding from the Recovery Fund, the NSRF, as well as private funds.
On our way to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 pct by 2030, promoting e-mobility is one of the key energy priorities of the Environment and Energy Ministry and of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Our goal is for one in three vehicles to be electric by 2030. And this is a completely achievable goal, thanks to its extremely positive impact on society.
And, of course, Greece is leading the energy transformation in Europe with the complete independence of the country from lignite by 2028, based on the national Plan for a Fair Development Transition. For every hour that the lignite plants operate, our country suffers. We are therefore accelerating the independence of our energy mix from lignite, because this is for the benefit of the country as a whole, the economy and the natural environment, while for the compensation for the social, environmental and economic impact, under the Fair Development Transition Plan, investments of 5 billion euros will be implemented in the coming years.
The diversification of the islands could not be absent from our diverse strategic planning for green development. Because we want the Greek islands to be characterized as green hotbeds of innovation and examples to be imitated in Europe.
Now is the opportunity to pave a new path that will lead to the effective protection of the planet, ensuring a better quality of life for its citizens and a sustainable, socially just and sustainable economic development."