How can CO2 emissions from energy production be eliminated in Greece by 2050?

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It is not yet clear how Greece intends to radically reduce produced CO2 emissions from these units. A way to achieve that would be through the application of CO2 capture and storage technology (CCS). As Eivind Hoff, Bellona Europa Director mentions “since countries such as Poland and Spain are getting ready to go forward with units that are going to use CCS technology, why not also Greece?’

In order to cultivate the dialogue regarding the potential of CCS in Greece, the Bellona Foundation and EuroCharity organised on September 24 an event, hosted at the Cultural Centre of the University of Indianapolis, on “Greek energy policy towards 2050; Is CCS part of the solution?” The communication sponsor of this event was “Perivallon 21” magazine.

Main conclusions derived from the discussion
The presentations of the panellists as well as the discussion that followed it was characterised by a constructive exchange of arguments regarding the potential CCS technology. As a result of a dialogue free of ideological predispositions, strong consensus was achieved on a number of important issues:

•    Given the decision of Greece to proceed with the construction of at least two new lignite units during the coming decade, CCS technology could become a reliable solution as a means of limiting drastically CO2 produced as a result of the operation of these new units.  

•    Greek law will enable safe CO2 storage as a result of implementing the EU directive regarding geological CO2 storage. This will happen at the latest by June 2011, the deadlines set by the EU.

•    Greece has the essential specialised scientific personnel in order to carry out high-quality research on CCS technology and especially on locating and testing potential CO2 storage sites.

Our proposals to the coming national government
Inspired by the aforementioned conclusions of the event discussion, the Bellona Foundation and EuroCharity feel compelled to file the below proposals to our future government. We call for;

1) A strengthening of the dialogue regarding the potential of CCS in Greece, as part of a realistic plan that would take into consideration the energy capabilities and potential of our country. This dialogue should take into consideration the three national energy strategy pillars, energy supply security, affordable energy prices in the long-term and environmental friendliness, as described by the representative of the National Energy Strategy Committee, Zoe Vrodisi. National energy planning should not exclude CCS technology since, as Dr. Ioannis Desypris, Regulation, Institutional Relations and Communication Officer of Endesa Hellas and Chairman of IENE (Energy Institute of SE Europe), underscored that,  “Greece is second in Europe in lignite production. This situation cannot alter easily. For this reason we need to incorporate CCS technology in our energy planning. It is futile to speak about green development in our country without this technology…CCS is one of the best choices we have got.”

2). The incorporation of CCS technology in the energy strategy of our country in order to attain the commitment of zero carbon power supply by 2050  co-signed by PPC CEO Takis Athanasopoulos. If CCS technology is not used to achieve this, we request for the immediate description of an alternative method to achieve this goal. As stated by Vasiliki Tsadari, Generation Environment Director of PPC, “PPC will examine the application of CCS when this technology proves technically and economically viable’ though PPC “already takes part in various scientific platforms and programmes that deal with CCS.”

PPC wants to “leave this choice open, in order to render long-term supply security possible, achieve lower prices for the consumers and protect simultaneously our environment.”

3. Provision of national funds and utilisation of available EU funds in order to conduct research on CCS technology, especially in order to locate suitable CO2 storage sites in order to prove that CCS can also be applied in Greece. As a specialist on this technology, Dr. Nikos Koukouzas, Research Director of CERTH (Centre for Research and Technology Hellas), affirmed, “suitable storage sites in Greece are located very close to main CO2 emission centres.”

Nikos Koukouzas explained that potential storage sites are located in regions with low seismicity levels, so there is little reason to fear CO2 leakage. Just like Greece, Italy has regions with high seismicity, and is moving toward the construction of plants.

For more information contact:

Ilias Vazaios, Bellona Advisor in Greece, Tel.: 697 717 3810; ilias@bellona.org   

Bellona Europa, 61, Rue du Trône / Troonstraat 61, 1050 Brussels;www.bellona.org

Peter Michel Heilmann, President, EuroCharity, Tel.: 210 747 5845; peter.heilmann@eurocharity.org