1 November 2022

Greece has always been a leader in the world’s progress. From the birthplace of democracy to the spearheading of renewable power in Europe. Greece made the headlines after its renewable energy capacity met all of Greece’s electricity needs for the first time.

Its independent power transmission operator announced that for at least five hours renewables accounted for 100% of Greece’s power generation. The country has been scaling up its renewable energy plants with a particular focus on utility-scale solar farms.

Greece’s Kozani solar farm is the largest in Europe with bifacial panels and marks a turn away from coal in the country’s coal-producing heartland.

At Green Switch Capital, we’re working with our trade association partners to create a sustainable, self-reliant energy market in the UK. We’re following the progress of our neighbours far and wide to determine lessons that the UK should learn from other successful energy markets.

How did Greece achieve 100% renewable power generation for five hours in October? We’re examining Greece’s renewables market and its future plans towards a zero-carbon industry.

Greece’s Record 100% Renewable Power

Early October saw Greece break a new record with renewables accounting for 100% of the country’s power generation for at least five hours. Greece’s independent power transmission operator recorded a record high of 3,108-megawatt hours that morning.

Its morning energy demands were met by 100% renewable energy, including during peak times. The achievement has been regarded as a success for the country’s joint land and sea strategy that focuses on maximising green energy capacity.

Greece’s record-breaking renewable energy achievement didn’t happen overnight. A 204 MW solar farm was put online in Kozani, in Greece’s Western Macedonia region. The placement was deliberate as the region is the heart of Greece’s coal production. The Kozani solar farm is an achievement across the board as the largest utility-scale solar farm in South East Europe and the largest in Europe with bifacial panels.

The 100% renewable power generation was a short-term goal for Greece. Solar, hydro, and wind made up 46% of the country’s power mix in the first eight months of 2022. By comparison, these three renewables made up only 42% across the same eight months in 2021.

While the country has been weaning itself off fossil fuels, it struggled alongside other European countries due to its reliance on Russian gas. However, this increase in renewable energy is a reason for optimism across Greece and beyond.

Kozani’s solar farm offers an opportunity for cheap renewable electricity on an industrial scale. A Greek energy think tankdescribed it as proof that “a renewables-dominated electricity grid is within sight”.

What this month’s achievement also highlights is that renewables can power our electricity systems without compromising reliability on a large scale. The question remains as to whether this capacity and deliverance can be continued throughout the rest of the year as we move beyond peak temperatures and sunlight hours.

The Future of Renewables in Greece

Where does Greece go from here? The country is aiming to attract an estimated €30 billion in a combination of European and private investment. This funding is intended to upgrade Greece’s electricity grid to facilitate accelerated green energy growth with its green energy capacity expected to double by 2030.

Greece’s goal is for renewables to account for at least 70% of its energy by 2030. Athens is expected to hit this goal earlier with plans for 25 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity, a jump from its current 10 gigawatts.

It’s not a straightforward transition for Greece though. The country is one of many across Europe that is trying to recover from its reliance on Russian gas. It’s acted to counterbalance the loss of Russian gas by increasing its liquefied natural gas imports and coal mining.

Data from Greece’s independent power transmission operator suggests that renewables, except for large hydro sources, have surpassed all other energy sources in Greece. The use of fossil gas has decreased for the first time since 2018 with it now coming in second to renewables.

The independent power transmission operator is exploring ways of expanding Greece’s power grid by boosting its capacity to facilitate additional hydro, wind, and solar energy. Greece faces the same challenges as the UK in upgrading its national grid to accommodate renewables.

What Can the UK Energy Market Learn from Greece?

We must learn lessons in the UK from the success of our European neighbours. Greece’s 100% renewable power achievement was only possible after the installation of its Kozani solar farm.

We can achieve the same renewable energy production by investing in solar farms across the UK to unlock our green energy potential. The Kozani solar farm reclaimed land from Greece’s coal-producing heartland to transform it into a green energy plant. Our land leasing scheme seeks to achieve the same outcome.

We’re working with hundreds of landowners and farmers across the UK to transform their land for solar and wind farms, along with battery storage facilitates. Green Switch Capital are learning from the success of Greece’s latest utility-scale solar farm.

It proves that a combination of wind and solar power can make up for the deficit caused by reliance on Russian gas. Renewable energy is also playing a vital role in tackling the cost of living crisis that has been fuelled by rising gas prices.

Join the Fight for Net-Zero

Greece has proven that we can achieve 100% renewable power generation. Its recent success highlights the importance of repurposing land for renewable power facilities, as well as battery storage.

Green Switch Capital are working with our trade associates, including Renewable UK, Energy UK, and Scottish Renewables, to achieve net-zero by 2050. You can earn a passive income and become part of the UK’s fight to create a self-sufficient renewable energy grid by joining Green Switch Capital.

We’ve already invested over £350 million in renewable diversification with a pipeline of 20,000 MW. Contact our team today to become part of the global fight against climate change.