Greece Sees 44-Billion Euro Bonanza Shedding Fossil Fuels

November 29, 2019

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, file)

ATHENS- Depending on fossil fuels in the 21st Century, Greece wants to move toward other sources officials said could bring investment worth about 44 billion euros ($48.39 billion) over the next decade.

A scheme approved by the Cabinet aims to cut the carbon footprint by more than 55 percent by 2030 compared with 2005, and would close down all its coal-fired power plants in the next eight years, the news agency Reuters said in a report.

Without a nuclear power plant, that would require moving to wind, solar and hydroelectric power that could make up at least 35 percent of energy consumption by then, up from about 15 percent in 2016, with investments worth about 9 billion euros ($9.9 billion) with other investments eyed in natural gas networks and in recycling projects, a field in which Greece has lagged far behind European Union goals.

The New Democracy government said it expects investment to consist of government spending, combined with European Union funds and foreign businesses in a country that has more than 250 sunny days annually but hasn’t harnessed it yet.

Oil and gas imports account for more than 65 percent of total energy consumption in Greece which also relies on coal-burning plant, an old technology blamed for speeding deleterious climate change.

“Climate change is here and we are living with the consequences on a daily basis,” Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis told reporters, with Greece planning to also spend some 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in the next 10 years to combat natural disasters from climate change like floods and forest fires.

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