Energy policy in Greece could make a significant contribution to the country’s economic recovery. Increasing competition and reducing the role of the state in the energy sector should add efficiency and dynamism to the Greek economy. This, in turn, should help generate self-sustained employment and prosperity for the country.
Reforming the electricity and gas markets is an economic and political imperative. In particular, regulatory authorities must be given the necessary power and independence to reduce the market power of dominant firms. Commendably, Greece adopted a law to this end in August 2011. The envisaged reforms are fundamentally sound and can help the economy grow. The government’s key focus should now be on implementing this law in full without delay.
Greece has a large potential for wind and solar energy and is rightly determined to fulfill this potential. The renewable energy sector also provides opportunities for new industrial development, in particular if linked with R&D activities. To facilitate renewable energy projects, the government recently improved investment conditions significantly by increasing feed-in tariffs, shortening and simplifying the licensing procedures and introducing stronger incentives for local acceptance.
Greece’s oil and gas sources are already well diversified. Gas use is projected to increase, as the country moves to decarbonise its coal-dominated power sector. Experience from IEA member countries has shown that enhancing energy efficiency can help improve energy security in a cost-effective way. This, in turn, can help mitigate climate change and deliver economic benefits.