Greece yesterday outlined an energy future of strong support for renewable energy, with development minister Kostis Hatzidakis ruling out investment in new coal-fired of nuclear power plants.
The announcement was especially gratifying to WWF-Greece, founder with other partners of a “No-to-coal” coalition which has enlisted strong community support – particularly in areas proposed or suggested for new coal-fired plants.
“We congratulate Mr Hatzidakis for ending the coal drama and the rumors regarding the introduction of nuclear energy,” said WWF Greece CEO Demetres Karavellas.
“We feel that our efforts to prove that Greece does not need coal power plants and nuclear energy have been justified. Today, we can be more optimistic that Greece might make the necessary shift towards a more sustainable and competitive green economy.”
WWF Greece last November published a low carbon energy vision for the country which proposed CO2 emissions reductions of close to 70% by 2050, outlining specific ways to achieve the reductions.
“No-to-coal” involved WWF Greece working together with local authorities in seven different sites that would have been affected by new coal power plants as well as organizing mass rallies for outside the Greek Parliament.
The initiative also involved locally specific “yet-to-renewables” campaigns, offering alternative less polluting, destructive and disruptive power solutions.
The government change of stance on the issue was signalled by legislative changes to streamline and assist investment in renewable energy and by Mr Hatzidakis emerging from a cabinet meeting in late January to say "We want 2009 to be the year of renewable energy sources ."
WWF Greece plans to intensify its efforts over the next few months to ensure that Greece plays a positive role within the EU in the critical negotiations towards getting a new and adequate global climate deal at the UN climate change conference at Copenhagen in December.