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25 May, 2001
An increase in economic activity and a corresponding improvement in the standard of living have led to a dramatic rise in energy consumption in both Greece and internationally, delegates at an Athens conference on renewable energy sources heard on Thursday.
In addressing the conference, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said renewable energy sources account for 9 percent of Greece's needs at present, whereas a 20-percent figure should be reached within a decade.
He also cited a 180-billion-drachma program to fund the construction of RES units throughout the country, sans the island of Evia.
According to Public Works and Environment Deputy Minister Ilias Efthymiopoulos, although certain energy-saving measures have begun to pay off in the east Mediterranean country, a comprehensive policy to reduce emissions blamed for the so-called "Green House Effect" has not been developed.
The deputy minister, who was Greenpeace Hellas' director before joining the government, said Crete leads all regions in Greece in terms of using renewable energy sources (RES) to generate electricity - 10 percent, expected to soon reach 15 percent.
Efthymiopoulos said opposition by local residents and municipalities to infrastructure works for RES units -- such as windmills and hydroelectric dams -- mark the greatest obstacle in employing such "environment-friendly" technology.
He added that establishing zones for RES infrastructure away from environmentally sensitive or historically significant areas in the country could allay opposition.
Source: Athens News Agency