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Greece could cut back on gas consumption without EU derogation

Earlier in July, Member States agreed to reduce their gas consumption by 15 per cent between August 2022 and March 2023, trying to be ready for any major gas disruption from Russia.

However, certain member states, including Greece, have asked for and have received derogations that allow them to contribute less to the common European effort. A new analysis published by the Green Tank and entitled Reduction of fossil gas consumption in Greece: Scenarios and recommendations quantifies the actual potential Greece has to reduce its total domestic consumption of fossil gas over the period in question. It focuses on the electricity generation sector, as the latter accounts for more than two-thirds of the total inland gas consumption.

“Greece has every potential to make a substantial contribution to the European effort to reduce dependence on fossil gas in the next eight months without the use of derogations, by accelerating the deployment of properly sited renewables, curbing gas consumption in the residential and industrial sectors and using lignite at levels that do not exceed those of the previous year,” commented Nikos Mantzaris, Senior Policy Analyst at The Green Tank. “This path protects the climate and shields the citizens and the economy from high energy costs, more than any other currently under consideration.”

Indeed, according to the report, the mere implementation of the government’s announcements to install 2 gigawatts (GW) of renewables in 2022 and to continue at the same rate during the first quarter of 2023 (500 megawatts, MW) can reduce domestic fossil gas consumption by 12.2 per cent, as compared to the average consumption of the past five years’ respective eight-month periods. It is important to notice that this reduction can be achieved without the need to increase lignite production or save fossil gas in the residential and industrial sectors.

On the contrary, lignite will be needed to move from a 12.2 per cent reduction to a 15 per cent one, if Greece doesn’t exceed the government’s renewables deployment target by 23 per cent. Finally, the reduction in gas consumption in the buildings and industrial sectors will contribute significantly towards achieving the -15 per cent target.

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