Greece - Energy and power



Coal and oil are imported to supply power for the many small generating plants spread over the country. Before World War II, the Athens-Piraiévs Electricity Co. operated the only modern plant in Greece, which ran on imported coal. In 1950, the government-organized Public Power Corp. was established to construct and operate electricity generating plants and power transmission and distribution lines; by 1955, it had erected four major power plants. In 1965, the first two units of the Kremasta hydroelectric station were opened; by 2001, installed capacity totaled 10.2 million kW. Production of electricity increased from 8,991 million kWh in 1970 to 50,400 million kWh in 2000, of which 91.5% was provided by thermal power, 6.6% by hydroelectric stations, and the rest by other sources. It has been estimated that 15% of Greece's energy needs can be supplied by wind power by 2010, and there are wind farms on Crete, Andors, and a number of other Greek islands. As of 2002 solar water heaters were used in 20% of Greek homes.

As of 2002, 63% of Greece's total energy consumption came from oil. Greece has actively explored offshore oil resources. A field off Thásos in the northern Aegean began operations in July1981. Total production, however, fell from 25,000 to 6,000 barrels per day between 1986 and 1998. Oil production was 8,992 barrels per day in 2001, from reserves estimated at 9 million barrels. Consumption was 406,000 barrels per day, making Greece strongly reliant on imported oil, mostly from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Libra. Natural gas production in 2000 amounted to only 2.8 million cu m, compared with consumption of 2 billion cu m. Greece imports natural gas from Russia and Algeria. Greece's only substantial fossil fuel resource is brown coal, or lignite. Its lignite reserves totaled 3,168 million tons in 2000; production in 1999 totaled67.2 million tons. A National Energy Council was created in 1975 to coordinate and support energy development.

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