On the occasion of the World Environment Day, June 5th, ELIAMEP has published a Policy Brief on Blue Energy.
There has been widespread discussion regarding the energy capabilities of the Greek sea, with an emphasis given to extracting oil and natural gas from undersea fields in the Mediterranean. Moreover, ambitious plans to build underwater pipes to transport natural gas across the Eastern Mediterranean are currently under discussion. Beyond the environmental concerns they raise, these plans carry significant economic uncertainties, with the cost of the under-water infrastructure being high, and with the new EU “Green Deal” potentially lowering the demand for natural gas from European countries. On the other hand, producing electricity in the Greek seas through a combination of land and offshore, rooted and floating wind parks is a far more promising plan.
- Renewable energy has already infiltrated the normative energy field and it will continue to do so.
- Extracting oil from undersea oil fields is environmentally and financially precarious.
- Extracting or transporting natural gas through underwater pipes is economically uncertain given the recent EU turn to renewable energy.
- Fossil fuels will increasingly be replaced and all linked investments will be affected. Within the EU, there are three options being discussed. 1) Gradual departure from the use of fossil fuels with the cost for the required infrastructure to do so partially reimbursed by the EU. 2) Dramatic decrease in fossil fuel investments and increase in renewable energy investments, namely hydrogen, biogas or gas produced through electricity generated via renewable energy sources. 3) Complete suspension of investments towards fossil fuels and focus of producing electricity. Speedier development of smart electrical networks and infrastructure to support and enable generating electricity through renewable energy sources. In all three paths forward, European investment in fossil fuels dramatically decreases.
- European countries with plenty of sunshine and wind have the best potential for energy development. Greece has both in abundance, particularly when it comes to its sea wind capacities.
You may find the full text by Kimon Hadjibiros, Emeritus Professor NTUA, in pdf here (in Greek language).