In Greece, biomass is the largest RE contributing about 5.4 percent of the total energy consumption in 1996. Biomass accounted for 56 percent of the total energy produced from RE (1.13Mtoe). Domestic use of wood accounted for about 68 percent of the energy produced from biomass. In Greece there is no market for energy crops, however these crops can ensure a very important percentage of energy demand in the country.
Moreover, Greece is considered one of the most erosion-affected regions of EU and the cultivation of perennial energy crops in hilly areas may significantly reduce erosion risks. The Greek situation is characterised by a slow growth of some traditional applications such as fuelwood from forests and stagnation or even decline of others; diffusion of new types of biomass conversion systems started few years ago24.
A. INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS
A.1. - POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND PROJECTS
At present there is no centrally planned and monitored programme for biomass exploitation for energy purposes. Greek RE policy is aimed at reducing the environmental pressure by the energy sector. Investment subsidies and higher payments for electricity fed into the national grid stimulate RE.
Bioenergy valorisation is realised through a number of national policy measures, such as:
- The Greek White Paper on Renewables
- The CO2 Emissions Abatement Programme that set up a national action for the effective approach to greenhouse effect.
A.2. - THE ROLE OF TECHNICAL AGENCIES
Governmental Organisations involved:
· The Ministry of Development provides public co-financing to investments related to energy saving and application of RE in Greece;
· CRES is a Centre for RE that is attached to the Ministry of Industry and Energy. It aims to promote RE and the rational use of energy in an environmentally sound way.
Non Governmental Organisations involved:
· HELLABIOM is the Greek Biomass Association.
B. LEGAL ISSUES
Development Law 2601/98 implemented through the Minister for National Economy provides financial incentive (capital subsidies) to private investments all over Greece. Subsidy percentages range from 15 to 40 percent according to different regions. Biomass exploitation for energy purposes is included in the same law25.
In order to promote RE, under the Law 2244/94 the production of electricity by stations connected to the public Power Corporation grid and belonging to interdependent producers is permitted also for biomass energy up to a capacity of 50MW26.
_ FINANCIAL REGULATIONS:
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF ENERGY CROPS:
Subsidies are available for biomass research programmes through CRES (Biomass Department). Fifty percent of the funding is from Greek Government and 50 percent from EU. Subsidy percentages on the total investment budget range from 40 to 55 percent according to different regions.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE CONVERSION OF ENERGY CROPS:
Income tax allowances exist for RE of up to 75 percent of the investment costs.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE UTILISATION OF ENERGY FROM ENERGY CROPS:
No financial incentives for the utilisation of energy from energy crops are available.
Limits are not identified as woodfuel standards.
24 AA:VV. "An 'Express Path' to biomass use for sustainable regional development: driving forces and barriers for technology diffusion in Denmark, Austria and Greece".
25 AFB-NETT IV Final Reports, Jan.1999.
26 "Perennial crops for energy in Greece"