Germany plans to buy Greek solar power

Greek Prime Minister Georges Papandreou confirmed on Sunday that Germany was keen to import solar-generated electricity from his debt-ridden country.

Germany plans to buy Greek solar power
Photo: DPA

He told a press conference in Salonika that he planned to travel to Germany late this month to discuss the project with Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting of German industrialists.

“We can supply the Germans with 10,000 to 15,000 MW”, he said, underscoring the urgency for Greece to fight “corruption and bureaucracy,” which in the past have derailed several investment projects.

Papandreou spoke of a “huge interest” in Germany for Greece’s renewable energy resources in view of of its plan to phase out nuclear energy and doubts about the political stability of Arab Mediterranean countries.

“There was a (solar) project in the Sahara, but it is in jeopardy because of the political turmoil,” he added.

His remarks also came as German Economy Minister Philipp Rösler said Europe could no longer rule out an “orderly default” for Greece as it struggles with a crippling debt crisis.

“To stabilize the euro, we must not take anything off the table in the short run,” Rösler, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor, wrote in the column for the conservative daily Die Welt to be published Monday.

“That includes as a worst-case scenario an orderly default for Greece if the necessary instruments for it are available,” he said, reviving an idea that surfaced last year to grapple with the turmoil within the eurozone.

Eurozone leaders announced a €159-billion ($223-billion) rescue package for Greece in July, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Sunday that the Greek government must not waver in its reform drive.

After a recent visit by a German official as part of a joint bid to boost investment to spur a Greek recovery, the German environment ministry said it was looking into a project to set up 20,000 hectares of photovoltaic systems to turn solar energy into electricity for export to Germany.

Press reports said the mammoth project dubbed “Helios” (the Greek God of the sun) would have an initial budget of €20 billion and would create between 30,000 and 60,000 jobs in Greece.

Rösler is due to visit Greece next month to further a bilateral cooperation accord on developing renewable energy.

Athens is trying to attract investment in renewable energies to replace jobs lost due to the recession which has been exacerbated by the austerity measures demanded by the EU and the IMF in exchange for a multi-billion euro rescue package to deal with the crippling debt burden.


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German households to receive relief for gas costs ‘starting in January’

To help German residents with skyrocketing energy costs, the government is planning to provide relief starting in January, according to draft legislation.

German households to receive relief for gas costs 'starting in January'

Through the gas price cap, the so-called Gaspreisbremse, both German residents and companies will receive retrospective relief for their gas costs starting in January 2023, according to the draft. 

Previously the relief payments were set to stretch between March 2023 and spring 2024, with 25,000 larger businesses, as well as almost 2,000 hospitals and schools to receive the help starting in January. 

READ ALSO: How much could households save under Germany’s new price cap?

The German government is reacting to the sharp rise in energy prices with energy price brakes worth billions and wants to soften the blow on both private households and companies. 

Germany will also be divvying out a one-off energy relief payment in December.

READ ALSO: When will people in Germany get their December gas bill payment?

How much will households and businesses receive?

Under the gas price cap, households and small and medium-sized enterprises are to receive a guaranteed gas gross price of 12 cents per kilowatt hour for 80 percent of their current consumption. For the remaining 20 percent of consumption, the contract price is set to apply.

For district heating, the guaranteed gross price is to be capped at 9.5 cents. 

Starting in January, a gas price brake is also planned for industry. These large consumers are to receive a guaranteed price of 7 cents per kilowatt hour net for 70 percent of their previous consumption volume.

The largest part of the energy price brake is to be financed by a “defence umbrella”, or special reserve, totalling up to €200 billion. The government is still taking on new debt in order to finance the energy caps. 

Russia’s war against Ukraine has increasingly aggravated the situation on the energy markets in Germany and Europe in the course of 2022, the draft states. 

In particular, the recent large price increases for natural gas and heat represent a “considerable, in some cases existence-threatening burden for residents and companies in Germany,” it continued. “They are an enormous socio-political and economic challenge.”


relief – (die) Entlastung

Natural gas – (das) Erdgas

Consumption – (der) Verbrauch

cushion/soften a blow – abfedern

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