2/7/07

The photovoltaic frenzy in Greece

Statement at the DG TREN event "Investment in Renewables, trends and opportunites"

The government in Greece has recently pushed forward new legislation according to which energy produced from photovoltaic systems is heavily subsidized. It may be that investors get even 50- 60% of their investment, which, with standard invoice manipulation, can easily reach even 100% if not more.

Even more the energy produced from these plants will be bought from the Electricity company at prices that are 5- 6 times more than Green energy resulting, for example, from wind. With a state guarantee for many decades to come !

It is thus no surprise that a frenzy has overwhelmed the country, with every owner of a few thousand meters of land, considering to invest in Green Energy, i.e., things he might till recently hav'nt had the faintest idea about. Let alone the foreign investors that are rushing in to tap in this unbelievable new policy.

Is this the investment we need in Greece?

A loud NO is the answer.

Why?

First, because the whole concept is financially ridiculous and totally irrational. I will spare you any financial indicators for this, trusting more and addressing your common sense. Why should we so heavily promote P/V energy compared to wind for example? Any idea? Probably not! A friend from a high standing position in the Energy business, globally renowned ,recently disclosed to me the information that the penetration of the P/V in the network will be, after all this subsidy money has been washed away, around 3-5% of the total installed power, while the cost of this energy will be almost as much as all the rest!

Second point, this is an absolutely zero adding value activity. Individuals put the land, the Germans the technology and the State the money. That’s it. Total nonsense for the 21st century business. Even North Koreans have more imagination than this!
Third point, this is an absolutely zero work position generating policy. Manpower required for monitoring and operating these plants is just zero! That’ s it. Total nonsense for a country with a 10% unemployment rate.
So why did this happen?

Only speculative approaches can be taken. Difficult to say if corruption or idiocy is the dominant driver.

Perhaps, some people wish to serve some Western European business interests, keeping for themselves a good and fat commission
Perhaps, some people wish to promote themselves as pioneers of Green Energy, looking forward to politically capitalize upon it. Did you hear any criticism from the political parties, from environmentally sensitive NGOs? Academics maybe? Of course not. Why criticize this crap when it appeals so easily to the subconscious of the masses? Why risk being labeled a foe of Green Energy?

Perhaps some people are so dumm that they really think they saw the opportunity for Green Energy there, where nobody else in the world ever saw it.

Nikos Sakkas, Dr. Eng
POLIS-21, SE Europe

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