Renewable Energy Alternatives Including Wind 'Literature Review' chapter

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Notwithstanding these disadvantages, some regions of the European Union, though, are particularly well suited to the installation of wind farms. For example, a 5-megawatt wind farm featuring 10 wind turbines with 500 kW capacity each, has already been constructed in Crete (Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007, p. 3). Although this wind farm facility is generating electricity, it is also serving as an experimental operation that uses two kinds of wind turbines that were provided by different manufacturers to assess their efficiency and to identify other locations in Europe that might be suitable for such operations (Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet 2007). Although it is reasonable to suggest that Greece could benefit from any and all of the foregoing alternative energy resources, the potential for solar energy application in the country appears to represent one of the more viable approaches for the future, and these issues are discussed further below.

Potential for Solar Energy Applications in Greece

Solar energy would appear to be a natural for Greece; after all, the Greek people have used solar power for millennia. For example, Rosentreter reports that, "The application of solar power is not a new idea. The ancient Greeks developed mirrors that would direct the sun's rays and cause a target to burst into flames within seconds" (2000, p. 8). Current policies concerning renewable energy resources in Greece are based in part on the need to conform to the larger European energy policy concerning the mandate to develop sustainable, competitive and secure energy supplies. In this regard, in January 2007, the European Commission adopted an energy policy for Europe that was supported by several documents on different aspects of energy and included an action plan to meet the major energy challenges faced by the European Union (Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007).

While hydropower has been a significant source of alternative energy for Greece for some time, there have been increasing applications of wind power, geothermal and active solar thermal systems in recent years as well. Legislation passed by the Greek government has also helped to promote interest and research into alternative energy resources by eliminating many of the administrative burdens on the renewable energy sector (Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007). A number of ambitious national goals for the use of various alternative energy resources have been established in Greece pursuant to the European Union Directive, but present trends indicate that these goals may not be achieved without significantly more support from the government and interest on the part of the private sector (Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007).

Some of the recent initiatives undertaken by the Greek government to stimulate interest in alternative energy resources include a 20% reduction of taxable income on expenses for domestic appliances or systems that use renewable energy sources as well as revised bidding procedures to promote the use of geothermal energy. In addition, Greece has introduced the following mechanisms to help stimulate the growth of renewable energy resources throughout the country:

1. Feed-in tariffs were introduced in 1994 and amended by the recently approved Feed-in Law. Tariffs are now technology specific, instead of uniform, and a guarantee of 12 years is given, with a possibility of extension to up to 20 years.

2. Liberalisation of RES-E development is the subject of Law 2773/1999.

3. Fossil fuel taxes are not applied to biofuels.

4. Tax incentives were in place to promote RES-H, but these have been suspended for budgetary reasons.

According to Richardson (2008), the feed-in tariffs described above are a financial incentive that has been used by the governments of Spain, the United States, Greece and Portugal to attract new investment in solar-powered technologies. As described by Richardson, "Typically the feed-in tariff operates so that customers of large utility firms receive a fixed price for the surplus energy diat their renewable resource generates over a fixed period, and for every unit of energy it produces, the local government provides an additional revenue stream as an incentive" (2008, p. 31).

Currently, electricity generated by renewable energy resources such as hydropower and onshore wind power remain the most important, with 4,369 GWh and 1,041 GWh in 2004, respectively, having grown at an average annual rate of 61% and 27% between 1997 and 2004, respectively (Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007). A breakdown of electricity generation in Greece using alternative energy resources during the period 1997 to 2004 is provided in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Electricity generation in Greece from renewable energy sources by type (GWh): 1991-2004

Source: Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007

At present, biomass provides the majority of heating from renewable energy resources in Greece (920 ktoe out of 1051 ktoe in 2004); however, there have also been increases in the solar thermal sector, and the highest average annual growth has been from geothermal sources which increased 28% during the period 1997 to 2004 (Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007). The respective penetration rates of biomass heat, solar thermal heat and geothermal heat are set forth in Table 1 and graphically depicted in Figure 2 below.

Table 1

Alternative energy resource penetration in Greece: 1997-2004

Source

Penetration 1997 (ktoe)

Penetration 2004 (ktoe)

Average annual growth (%)

Biomass heat

0%

Solar thermal heat

3%

Geothermal heat incl. heat pumps

2

13

28%

Source: Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007

Figure 2. Alternative energy resource penetration in Greece: 1997-2004

Source: Based on tabular data in Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007

The respective annual growth rates for these alternative energy resources for the period 1997 to 2004 is shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Average Annual Growth Rate for Alternative Energy Resources in Greece: 1997 to 2004

Source: Based on tabular data in Greece: Renewable Energy Fact Sheet, 2007

As can be seen in Figure 3 above, although an important contributor to heating applications in Greece, biomass growth remained stagnated during the period 1997 to 2004 while solar thermal and geothermal enjoyed modest to significant growth. There are some other indications, though, that indicate solar power is an especially viable alternative energy resource for Greece in the coming years. For instance, the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES), Greece's national agency tasked with promoting renewable energy sources has funded a number of solar energy initiatives in neighboring countries, including those described in Table 2 below.

Table 2

Summary of CRES Solar Energy Initiatives

Initiative/Budget

Description

Renewable Energy Sources -- Development and Implementation of Solar Energy in Armenia: €360,000

Project Targets:

• Development of new solar market and reinforcement of the cooperation in the sector of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and Energy Saving (EE) in Armenia.

• Reinforced of the use of RES in Public Buildings, decrease of energy consumption, protection of the environment and strengthening of the national / local economy.

• Development of a scientific, technological and business cooperation.

Technical Object of the Project

• in Narcologic Clinic of the State Medical Centre for Psychiatry, 180m2 of combi solar thermal systems will be installed, for covering sanitary hot water and heating demands.

• in elder's foundation "Nork" 180m2 of combi solar thermal systems will be installed, for covering sanitary hot water and heating demands.

Expected results from the technical object

• in elder's foundation "Nork" the annual savings in energy will be up to 65%.

• in Narcologic Clinic of the State Medical Centre for Psychiatry the annual savings in energy will be up to 70%.

Applications of Renewable Energy and Energy Saving methods in the affected regions of Lebanon: €700,000.00

Project Targets:

• Enhancement of the business and scientific co-operation between Greece and Lebanon in the sector of RES Technologies.

• Reinforced of the use of RES in households, decrease of energy consumption, protection of the environment and strengthening of the national / local economy.

• Emergence of Greece as a leading country in RES in Mediterranean area.

Technical Object of the Project

• Solar systems, of 2,50m2 collector's surface and a boiler of 150lt, which correspond to a typical five member family for sanitary hot water needs, will be installed in about 350 households in affected regions of South Lebanon.

• Supply of 90.000 low consumption lamps, mainly of 15W each and installation of them in about 10.000 houses and small foundations.

• Supply and installation of testing and measurements equipment for the solar collectors with aim the creation of a permanent centre of solar testing.

Expected results from the technical object

• the projects regarding the installation of solar systems and the low consumption lamps will save significant amounts of energy and will provide preconditions for social, environmental and economic gains for the whole population and specifically for the lowest income/affected social groups.

• the project regarding the installation of testing and measurements equipment for the solar collectors will assist the local market, with the improvement of Lebanese standards, which are based on European standards for solar collectors.

Utilization of Alternative Energy Sources through the installation of Solar…

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