The other week, Greece celebrated an exciting milestone! All of the country’s electricity needs were met by renewable energy for the first time, as stated by the country’s independent power transmission operator IPTO.
Greece’s transition to renewable energy
Renewables accounted for 100 percent of Greece’s power generation for at least five hours on Friday, October 7, reaching a record high of 3,106-megawatt hours.
According to Greece-based environmental think-tank The Green Tank, solar, wind, and hydro accounted for 46 percent of the nation’s power mix in the eight months to August of this year, up from 42 percent in the same period in 2021.
Green Tank described it as a “record of optimism for the country’s transition to clean energy, weaning off fossil fuels, and ensuring our energy sufficiency.”
“European countries like Greece are rapidly accelerating away from fossil fuels and towards cheap renewable electricity. The milestone reached by Greece proves that a renewables-dominated electricity grid is within sight,” Elisabeth Cremona, an analyst at energy think tank Ember, told Euronews Green.
“This also clearly demonstrates that the electricity system can be powered by renewables without compromising reliability. But there remains more to do to ensure that renewables overtake fossil fuels in Greece’s power sector across the whole year,” Cremona added.
This remarkable milestone comes on the heels of the encouraging news that renewables will fully meet the rise in global electricity demand in the first half of 2022.
While this is a triumphant moment for Greece, the country’s transition to clean energy has not been without challenges.
Following the war in Ukraine, Greece (like other European countries) reduced its reliance on Russian gas by increasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports to meet its needs. It has also increased coal mining, delaying its decarbonization plan.
Greece’s next steps in its green energy journey?
Using IPTO data, The Green Tank discovers that renewables, excluding large hydro sources, have surpassed all other energy sources, with fossil gas falling to second place for the first time since 2018.
Greece expects to more than double its green energy capacity by 2030, with green energy accounting for at least 70 percent of its energy mix. To help meet that goal, the government is attempting to attract approximately €30 billion (approximately $29.2 billion) in European funds and private investments to upgrade its electricity grid.
It intends to increase installed renewable energy capacity to 25 gigatonnes from about 10 gigatonnes, but analysts believe Athens may achieve that goal sooner.
IPTO has been investing in the expansion of the country’s power grid in order to increase power capacity and facilitate the penetration of solar, wind, and hydro energy.