“Virtual” Solar Power Sales Proposed for Greece

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Last year the Greek and German governments proposed a solar PV project to be built in Greece that would generate up to 10,000 megawatts of electricity that could then be sold to other European countries. The only thing they forgot is that it’s really difficult to get electricity across Europe’s national borders.

The latest plan is to build the plant anyway and sell the power in Europe without actually sending the electricity out of Greece. While that may seem like a scam of some kind, what the purchasers gain are clean energy credits that can be counted toward the continent’s carbon emissions limits.

It’s a novel idea, and it may actually work. Greece has plenty of sunshine, which is as cheap as a fuel gets — i.e., free — and carbon-free as well. In other countries, it may be expensive to harness some form of green energy. The continent has agreed to generate 20% of its energy from green sources by 2020, and these cross-border “co-operation agreements” were included to help make that possible.

Such a program avoids the billions (like hundreds of billions) of euros that would be required to upgrade Europe’s grid and has the side benefit of pumping jobs cash into Greece’s economy. Who knows, at a later date Greece might actually be able make some improvements to the continent’s grid and actually ship the electricity to a buyer.

Paul Ausick