During the last twenty years there has been a steady increase of energy consumption in Greece, due to economic development and subsequent behavioral changes. High consumption of electricity resulted in corresponding increase of conventional fuels consumption. In particular indigenous lignite was the strategic choice of Greece for electricity production even before the seventies oil crisis. Furthermore crude oil and oil products imported for consumption in transport and heating, together with smaller amounts of natural gas which was recently introduced, have resulted in high imports dependency reaching 71% of gross inland consumption. Efforts to adopt common European policies regarding mitigation of GHG emissions have led to a gradual increase of RES deployment and improvement of energy efficiency. Increase in fuel prices after 2008 and the economic recession have slowed down energy consumption in almost all final sectors (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Final energy consumption by sector
In 2009, the European Union (EU) has agreed (Directives 2009/28/EC and 2009/29/EC) union wide energy and emissions targets for 2020, namely 20% reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions compared to 1990 levels, production of 20% of gross final energy consumption from renewable energy sources (RES) and 20% energy efficiency (formalized by Directive 2012/27/EC). These targets were transposed to individual targets for each Member State (MS); for Greece these were set at 4% reduction of GHG emissions in sectors outside the Emissions Trading System (ETS) compared with 2005 levels and at 18% penetration of RES in gross final consumption. The Greek government by Law 3851//2010 has adopted a more ambitious target of 20% renewable energy penetration by 2020, in conjunction with secondary renewable targets of 40% in electrical power generation, 20% in thermal energy and 10% in transport. As regards energy efficiency, Greece has already put forward an Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which aims at 9% reduction in final energy consumption by year 2016 according to Directive 2006/32/EC, and has, furthermore, notified EC of the national indicative energy efficiency target for 2020, under the new Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU).
In view of the repeated calls for an 80-95% GHG reduction in developed countries by 2050, so as not to exceed the 2oC threshold agreed by all nations in 2012 in Doha, the European Commission (EC) has proposed an,...