New energy law afoot
Athens News, 4 December 2009

Greece's new renewables law will cut bureaucracy to unlock hundreds of stranded renewable energy projects, Environment, Energy and Climatic Change Minister Tina Birbili said on December 3. The draft law, to be submitted soon to public consultation, will cut licensing times for renewable energy projects to eight to ten months from three to five years, Birbili said during a televised cabinet meeting.

"There is tremendous investor interest, but too much bureaucracy," Birbili said.

The backlog of projects waiting for approval has a total capacity of about 57,000 megawatts, which is about 50 times larger than the number of projects operating, she said.

Addressing an Economist conference on the green economy on December 2, Birbili said that the bill will include arrangements on the licensing of electric power production units from renewable energy sources, changes in the special land planning framework prepared by the previous government, terms on the construction of energy transport networks and on the familiarisation and participation of local societies in the undertaking.

Prime Minister George Papandreou has said that he wants to see Greece produce 40 percent of all its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. At present, the country relies on lignite, a polluting form of coal, to cover the bulk of its energy needs. Currently, Greece produces just over 3 percent of its energy from wind and solar power.