Date: Tue, 17 Jun 97 09:08:18 CDT
Solar age kickstarts in the Mediterranean region!
Greenbase press release, 12 June 1997
Malta, 12 June 1997 - Solar power today enters a new era with the Greek Governments' decision to begin the construction of the world's largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power station on the island of Crete.
The solar power station is part of a two-year campaign by Greenpeace to transform Crete into a solar powered island. It is the start of the solar age in the Mediterranean region.
The Greek Energy Minister Vasso Papandreou today agreed to fund the first 5 Megawatt part of a proposed 50 Megawatt PV power station on Crete with the US company Enron Solar. The European Union (EU) and the Greek government will fund 55% of the capital costs.
Total investment is 17.75 million USD. Enron Solar's plan submitted to the Greek Government proposes building 9 Megawatts a year subsequently to reach 50 Megawatts by 2003. The current largest PV power station is 3.3 Megawatts in Italy.
Following the Greek Governments' announcement, Thilo Bode Executive Director said in Crete: "This smashes conventional assumptions on solar power in terms of scale and costs. The solar age is no longer a future dream but a reality today."
"If the world builds the equivalent of eight of these solar power stations, we can create a $27 billion dollar market for solar PV and create several 100,000 jobs. This is the type of energy investment which Governments must now implement if we are to have any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change and if countries are to meet their own greenhouse gas reduction commitments" Bode said. (1)
A Greenpeace report released today "Plugging into the sun - kickstarting the solar age in Crete" demonstrates that the 50 Megawatt solar power station in Crete could catalyze a breakthrough in the Mediterranean and global commercial markets. (2)
Dr. MarioDamato, Greenpeace Mediterranean Executive Director, said in Malta: "The Mediterranean has a very high solar power potential and the Crete example is a show case for the region. It is the proof that our countries can be on the forefront of the solar power revolution and at the same time share the solution to global warming."
"All we need is that governments believe in the region's potential and have the will to seriously consider their renewable energy future after coal, oil and gas are over," he added.
Greenpeace Mediterranean's campaign focus this year is the promotion of solar energy.
In Malta, a small island like Crete, energy is solely produced by several polluting fossil fuel-powered plants. The Greenpeace ship's visit last month to the Islands launched the solar push for the Island and the Mediterranean region.
In Turkey, Greenpeace is working against plans to build a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu. Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Turkish Atomic Energy Institute (TAEK) and the Turkish Utility (TEAS) last week tried to downplay during seminars the dangers of nuclear power.
German, Canadian and US companies are currently trying to sell nuclear reactors to Turkey, although they could not place a single order in their own countries since at least 15 to 20 years.
Greenpeace is also campaigning in Turkey against the illegal operation of three polluting coal-powered plants Yatagan, Yenikoy and Gokova in Mugla. Despite a 1996 court order, the three plants continued to operate through a government decision. They have been burning millions of tons of poor-quality coal with a high percentage of ash, sulfur, uranium. They neither have the needed licenses nor do they abide by environmental rules.
Greenpeace wants to promote solar power in the Mediterranean as a major asset and a clean and endless alternative energy source for the region. Nuclear dreams like in Turkey must be scrapped. Fossil fuel burning must be radically reduced by introducing alternative energy systems like solar and wind.
Following the Greek Government's announcement, the Energy Minister will hold a press conference to discuss other solar issues with Greenpeace on its ship the "Sirius" which is currently on a solar tour of the Mediterranean. It is to visit Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Malta and Tunisia between in June and July.
For more information please contact in Malta: Dr. Mario Damato or Greenpeace Mediterranean Energy Campaigner Hannoun Guizani, Tel ++356-803484 or ++356-803463; or Press Officer Fouad Hamdan in Beirut, ++961-1-785665, mobile ++961-3-756429. Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Note to the Editors:
The full report with a global overview of current trends and costs in solar photovoltaics plus video footage and photos are available upon request.
(1) Negotiations for legally binding greenhouse gas reductions will be finalized in December at a meeting of the Climate Change Convention in Kyoto, Japan. Greenpeace is calling for a minimum 20% cut in carbon dioxide levels by 2005 in comparison to 1990 levels, and to begin negotiations for a fossil fuel phase-out, and in particular, a halt to new oil exploration.
(2) The Greenpeace International report released today "Plugging into the sun - kickstarting the solar age in Crete" provides the background to the Crete campaign, a global overview of current trends and costs in solar photovoltaics, analyses the impacts of the 50 Megawatt power station, and demonstrates that Crete is only the starting point for a breakthrough in solar power including the creating of 294,000 jobs in Europe.
At 50 Megawatts, the Crete solar power station would be fifteen times larger than any other solar PV installation in the world, be more than four times cheaper than the average costs of PV, and provide electricity for nearly 100,000 people, an eighth of Crete's population. The given costs of electricity given by Enron Solar for the first 5 Megawatts of the 50 Megawatt proposal is below 8.5 cents/kWh, cheaper than a third of Crete's fossil fuel electricity.
The average cost of Crete electricity is 8.15 cents/kWh, yet electricity costs on Crete vary depending on the type of power source used:
Steam electric unit: 5.13 US cents/kWh (48.4% of net energy produced); Diesel electric unit: 3.64 cents/kWh (16.82%); combined cycle unit: 13.48 cents/kWh (29.28%); gas turbines: 21.60 cents/kWh (5.11%). (Based on US $1 = 231.6 GRD in 1995.)