Greece emerging as power supplier to Southeast Europe
For the first time ever, Greece is emerging as an exporter of electric power to its neighbors in Southeast Europe, marking a profound transformation in the country’s energy balance and giving a boost to Greece’s long term ambitions to become a source of clean energy to the region.
In the last few months, Greece has become a net exporter – rather than importer – of electricity, according to the Independent Power Transmission Operator, Greece’s national grid operator. Monthly data show that Greece was a net exporter of electricity in three months this year, including in the two consecutive months of July and August. At the same time, net electricity imports have fallen by almost half compared with a year earlier and are at their lowest levels since 2013.
The change reflects the rapid and ongoing development of Greece’s energy sector in the last several years, particularly the billions of euros that have been invested in power generation, renewable energy, and in transmission infrastructure.
To enhance its role as an energy hub for the region, Greece is proceeding with a series of cross border power projects including with Cyprus, Israel, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Italy and Egypt. Collectively, these projects will leverage Greece’s geostrategic position by allowing it to export power to its neighboring countries in Europe and also act as a hub for power generated elsewhere in the region.
The most prominent of these projects is the €2.5 billion EuroAsia Interconnector, which will connect Greece with the power grids of Cyprus and Israel. Construction on the project was inaugurated earlier this month, with the cable expected to be in operation by 2028. A similar connection is envisioned with Egypt and earlier this year the two countries signed an MOU to develop the project.
Earlier this month and for the first time ever, Greece covered all of its electricity demand in key daytime hours entirely from renewable sources. According to The Green Tank, an environmental think tank, electricity produced from renewable energy sources and hydro power covered 46.1% of total electricity demand in the first eight months of the year.