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Greece enters the offshore wind market

Greece enters the offshore wind market

Greece’s Kafireas onshore wind farm. Photo credit: Enel Green Power.

By Anders Lorenzen

Greece is a Mediterranean paradise and a favourite holiday destination. Parts of it have in recent years experienced the nightmare and havoc of climate-fuelled wildfires is increasing its effort to accelerate a clean energy transition.

This week, the country moved forward with plans to construct its first offshore wind farms. In a draft plan, the government of Greece identified areas for private development, with the long-term intention of lessening dependence on fossil fuels.

Strong wind potential

Greece is surrounded by sea with strong and steady winds suitable for producing energy. Last year it generated more than 50% of power from onshore wind, solar and hydro. Its offshore wind strategy sets out to build an installed capacity of at least two gigawatts (GW) from offshore wind by 2030, representing one-tenth of its onshore capacity.

The plan includes 25 eligible development areas in the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean seas that will become available in two time periods, some between 2025 and 2032, and some later. This is according to Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (HEREMA), which is in charge of the programme.

The zones cover a total area of 2,711 square km with an estimated minimum capacity of 12.4 GW. The majority of zones are suitable for floating technology, HEREMA said.

Energy and Environment Minister, Theodore Skylakakis said about the project: “The development of these projects is a national priority not only because it will contribute decisively to our energy independence, but also because it enables us to export green energy in the future.”

The Hellenic Wind Energy Association (ELETAEN) said that investments topping €6 billion will be needed for Greece to achieve its two GW target.

According to the plan, in the short-term period up to 2032, ten eligible areas for installing offshore wind farms have been identified off the islands of Crete and Rhodes, in the central Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea, with a total capacity of about 4.9 GW.

Final approval of the plan is expected by the end of the year before designated areas are officially demarcated at the end of 2024, HEREMA said.

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