REN21, a global renewable energy policy network with the aim of providing information and reliable data about the sector, issued its annual report on worldwide energy production from sustainable sources on Tuesday 18 June. According to the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report, Greece is among the top 9 countries worldwide generating more than 20% of their electricity using solar PV & wind turbines.

The country’s share of electricity generation from variable renewable energy sources is around 22% of its total energy generation, placing it seventh worldwide (behind Denmark, Uruguay, Ireland, Germany, Portugal and Spain). Of this, solar PV accounted for 8.2% of total electricity generation in Greece, while the rest came from wind turbines. The aforementioned countries, along with the United Kingdom and Honduras, are the only nine countries in the world that have produced more than 20% of their electricity from wind energy and solar photovoltaics (PV)in 2018.

Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain and Italy were also Europe’s top five solar thermal markets in 2018. Greece is also fifth worldwide in solar water heating collector capacity per capita. In 2018, Greece increased its annual solar water heating collector installations by 4% relative to 2017. Greece has already seen steady growth year-on-year but, in 2018, it added more systems than ever before with an added capacity of 230 MWth. Market growth has been based on attractive product pricing of solar thermal systems relative to other water heating technologies (driven by electricity and fossil fuels), as well as on a building regulation that stipulates a minimum 60% solar share in hot water production for new buildings.

REN21bAccording to the report, another driver in 2018 was the Energy Savings in Households programme, which provided low-income families with grants that cover 60% of the investment costs of solar water heaters. Export volumes of the Greek solar thermal industry also reached a new record in 2018 (391 MWth), benefiting from increasing demand in emerging markets worldwide. Top export regions included southern Europe (Italy and Spain), North Africa (Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia), the United Arab Emirates and the Caribbean.

Dimas, the top Greek manufacturer, enlarged its production volume by 13% due to rising demand in the Middle East and to new markets in Latin America (particularly in Central America). Total exports from Greece’s collector industry rose 20% in 2018, to 391 MWth (following a 41% increase in 2017), due to cost-competitiveness as well as good quality and product reputation. Exports of Greek collectors far exceeded domestic sales (230 MWth).

The report does point out that Greece is among the countries (together with Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK and others) experiencing some systemic impacts; growing supply variability and uncertainty has significant impacts at the system operations level and noticeable impact on operations of some power plants. According to REN21, the response to these issues should include significant changes to system operations and greater flexibility of supply and demand, along with some grid reinforcement for voltage and frequency stability. Some examples of adequate technological and operational responses include managing variability through advanced forecasting, improved transmission infrastructure and a significantly more dynamic operation of a growing number of dispatchable system resources, as well as co-ordination across control areas with the aid of improved information and control technology, and strengthened transmission interconnections.

REN21 introImage by flickr (USFWS/Joshua Winchell)

Greece’s share of renewables in final energy consumption is 15.2%, while its target is to reach 20% by 2020, a higher target compared to those set under EU Directive 2009/28/EC. Its progress (End-2017) regarding renewable heating and cooling targets is 26.6%. Its progress (End-2017) regarding renewable transport targets is 4%, set to reach 10.1% by 2020. Regarding renewable power targets for share of electricity generation, Greece’s progress (End-2017) is 24.5%, set to reach 40% by 2020. The Greek capital, Athens, is also set to ban petrol- and diesel-powered cars and vans by 2025.

Download the full report here

Read also via Greek news Agenda: Renewable Energy in Greek Islands: Tilos Shows the Way with Innovative Smart Grid; Tilos island: A future energy paradigm for the country?; Greece among EU’s “big five” in blue economy; Greece is entering a growth phase; Enterprise Greece – Setting up a company in Greece