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Challenges in the road towards the development of hydrogen projects

A new era is dawing for climate policies and actions towards ‘net-zero’ emissions and to decarbonization of the socio-economic system! It is now the momentum of development of low-carbon hydrogen, which is expected to be the key to decarbonisation and especially for the decarbonization of the energy sector and transportation sector (which are responsible for the majority of the GHG emissions, globally).

EU is taking the lead in the development of hydrogen infrastructure and general of the use of hydrogen as the main path to decarbonization. To this end, last year the EU published the European Hydrogen Strategy (, for a climate neutral Europe, in combination to the European Energy Sector Integration Strategy (, which is strongly related to the decarbonization process.

But the hydrogen pathway is not without any challenges…

Several issues must be solved or at least, immediate, actions to be taken, so as to safeguarde the transition to climate neutrality based on hydrogen. First, it is very important policy makers to prioritize the development of green hydrogen production and transportation. Of course, blue hydrogen can support the transition to decarbonization, but it cannot support a climate neutral socio-economic system.

Some of the challenges that the development of green hydrogen is facing are:

  1. Gaps in regulative / permitting framework: In most countries, hydrogen is a new ‘fuel’, thus spatial, environmental and health & safety (HS) regulative gaps to be identified and new legislative acts to come in force.
  2. HS challenges: How mature is the HS legislation of handing, storing, construction and operation of hydrogen facilities?
  3. Environmental challenges: Although hydrogen is considered to have an exceptionally low footprint, potential environmental constraints (i.e., water availability, biodiversity, development of new networks etc.) need to be identified and solutions to be provided.
  4. Taxonomy Regulation challenges: Hydrogen project must be compatible to the the ‘Do No Significant Principle’.
  5. Social challenges: A great discussion on the socio-economic changes by the decarbonization has already started. Furthermore, a non-exclusive stakeholder engagement of the public and of the stakeholders on the hydrogen development in relation to decarbonization must take place.
  6. Technical barriers (i.e. electrolyzers, RES to be used etc.).

Do we have the answers? Maybe for some of the constraints, yes. For others, maybe not. But in any case, we hope this Conference to show the direction to the solutions!


Thomas Kollias, Environmental & Social Consultant for Energy Projects- Ecomed
Ioannis Aspirtakis, Mechanical Engineer, MSc, PhDc – ErgoProlipsis, General Manager
Vasilia Alexopoulou, Environmental Consultant, Alexopoulos and Parnters


Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, G. Plakiotakis, writes for the 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Energy Exhibition of Greece

Reduction of GHG emissions is a distinct challenge

The history, culture and economy of Greece are inextricably linked to sea and shipping. Shipping has constantly and substantially supported economic development bringing at the same time added value to all connected sectors.

Though the country accounts for only 0.16% of the world’s population, Greek ship-owners own 21% of global tonnage and, post Brexit, 58% of the EU’s controlled tonnage. The Greek maritime cluster comprises more than 1.440 shipping companies engaged in ocean-going shipping and further 3,700 maritime companies active mainly in cabotage and short-sea shipping, highlighting Piraeus as a maritime center of global range and a centre of excellence in ship-management. These companies, having under their management over 4.700 ships, greek-flagged and greek-owned, offer direct employment to almost 18.000 employees and are the driving force for the entire maritime cluster, which in turn offers directly and indirectly quality jobs to nearly 200.000 people. For 2020, the abovementioned operations and synergies contributed to our economy more than 13.8 billion Euros.

We live in challenging times and it is the case that the pandemic derailed or rescheduled our priorities, as happened all around the globe. In this respect the main priority for 2021 is to put strong foundations for the recovery of all economic activities, including shipping.

The maritime environment is our common, global heritage. And shipping is a global industry. The IMO Initial GHG Strategy needs to be implemented as a matter of urgency, with focus on the practical implementation of the short-term technical and operational measures to be adopted by the IMO mid-June. The next step, to start already within the current year 2021 is to create the necessary preconditions that will enable the decarbonization of shipping, as the ultimate objective of both the European Green Deal and the IMO GHG Strategy.

This pathway necessarily involves the development and deployment of new fuels and propulsion technologies, suitable for each and every shipping mode. The most important sectors in Greece are, first, ocean going shipping and Ro-Ro passengers, which need to provide frequent, regular and quality connections to an extensive network of more than 400 routes serving 115 inhabited islands.

In both sectors, reduction of GHG emissions is a distinct challenge and I believe that the business partnerships to be explored and eventually established will provide very useful solutions. The same is true as regards more sustainable and efficient port operations, as well as the fuel supply industry, which will need to provide safe alternative low carbon fuels not only in the EU but worldwide.


G. Plakiotakis, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy

Secretariat of Clean Energy for EU Islands Writes for the 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Energy Exhibition of Greece

The Clean energy for EU islands secretariat is looking forward to participating in the 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Energy Exhibition of Greece and share our experience in supporting European islands in their clean energy transition.

In cooperation with the European Parliament, the Commission set up a Secretariat to deliver the objectives of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative in 2018. The Secretariat acts as a platform of exchange of best practice project examples for islands’ stakeholders and provides dedicated capacity building and advisory services. The secretariat mainly covers topics related to clean energy such as energy production, Energy efficiency, Heating and cooling, Transport to and from the island, and transport on the island

The Clean energy for EU islands secretariat was created to facilitate the clean energy transition on EU islands with a bottom-up approach. It is built on the vision that to assure the best environment for change, and to benefit all members of the island communities, a balanced collaboration between public and private stakeholders is essential. For this reason, the Secretariat is using the quadruple helix approach, helping citizens, local authorities, local businesses, and academic institutions work together to advance the clean energy transition on their island.

To facilitate the islands’ transition to renewable energy and encourage them to act, the secretariat is organizing various events and activities like workshops, forums, calls for technical assistance or video calls. It not only supports islands in planning and getting funding for projects, but also helps them to promote their projects through its social media channels, newsletters, or events. Connecting islands and giving agency to people who want to transfer their island towards a clean energy future, is one of the secretariat’s goals. Its events provide islands with a chance to explore, shape, and act. They can explore other islands’ ongoing projects or agendas to draw inspiration for their own ambitions. Islands have the opportunity to engage in workshops and in turn finalize or pitch their projects and find investors. During these events and regardless of events, the secretariat provides support to apply for financing or finding investors.

It is especially difficult for islands to create and import energy since they are often not connected to continental electricity grids. This makes energy more expensive than in other regions. Switching to renewables is an important step, not only for the environment, but also for the energy security of islands. There are various possibilities to use an island’s potential for renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar farms, or wave energy.

The secretariat hopes to motivate even more islands to take the first step towards their clean energy transition during the 5th Cretan Clean Energy Conference – International Energy Exhibition of Greece


International Energy Exhibition of Greece comes in 2021

From this year onwards the International Energy Exhibition of Greece is integrated in the organization of the Cretan Energy Conferences.The International Energy Exhibition will be held in Crete from 8 to 10 July 2021, under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the support of the Region of Crete.

The event is organized by Cretan Energy Conferences and the entrance to the public is free, primarily to academics, students and professionals and secondly to the general public. Exhibitors will be present from across the energy sector.An important event for Greece will be held annually in Crete for strategic reasons, each year’s main goal is the contribution in the development and progress of the science and EU affairs , in the global scene. After the postponement of the event on  2020, the event is rescheduled on a “safe” month giving the opportunity for physical presence.


Ο Κωνσταντίνος Παπαλουκάς μιλάει για το Υδρογόνο εν όψει του 5ου Παγκρήτιου Ενεργειακού Συνεδρίου – International Conference & Exhibition

Η ανάπτυξη της Οικονομίας Υδρογόνου ως ευκαιρία για την Ελλάδα

Tο Υδρογόνο διαθέτει τα ιδιαίτερα αυτά χαρακτηριστικά, για να βοηθήσει την παγκόσμια κοινότητα να ξεπεράσει τις τρέχουσες ενεργειακές προκλήσεις και παράλληλα να ενισχύσει τις ενέργειές της για την αντιμετώπιση της κλιματικής αλλαγής. Η ανάπτυξη μιας παγκόσμιας Οικονομίας Υδρογόνου όμως απαιτεί μια ολιστική προσέγγιση η οποία αγγίζει όλα τα τμήματα της αλυσίδας αξίας (value chain) και προϋποθέτει την παράλληλη ανάπτυξη της ζήτησης στην αγορά μαζί με αυτή των υποδομών παραγωγής (upstream), μεταφοράς (midstream) και εφοδιασμού (downstream).

Η Ελλάδα υποστηρίζει σθεναρά τη δυναμική του υδρογόνου στον δρόμο για ενεργειακή μετάβαση και περαιτέρω απανθρακοποίηση του ελληνικού, αλλά και του ευρωπαϊκού ενεργειακού μείγματος. Και αυτό γιατί το υδρογόνο δύναται να αντικαταστήσει τα ορυκτά καύσιμα τόσο ως καθαρό καύσιμο όσο και ως πρώτη ύλη σε συγκεκριμένους τομείς που η απανθρακοποίησή τους παρουσιάζει ιδιαιτερότητες και δυσκολίες, όπως αυτούς των μεταφορών και της βιομηχανίας.

Βραχυπρόθεσμα έως μεσοπρόθεσμα, η Ελλάδα προσανατολίζεται σε μια τεχνολογικά ουδέτερη προσέγγιση στον τρόπο παραγωγής υδρογόνου, αν και μεσοπρόθεσμα έως μακροπρόθεσμα, αφού η απανθρακοποίηση της ηλεκτρικής μας παραγωγής φτάσει σε ένα ώριμο σημείο, θα μπορούμε να δώσουμε περισσότερη έμφαση στην παραγωγή πράσινου υδρογόνου μέσω ηλεκτρόλυσης. Μια τέτοια εξέλιξη θα ξεκλειδώσει την περαιτέρω αξιοποίηση του μεγάλου δυναμικού ανανεώσιμων πηγών ενέργειας στο ενεργειακό μας μείγμα, ενώ ταυτόχρονα τέτοιου είδους εγκαταστάσεις θα μπορούν να λειτουργήσουν ως ένα αποτελεσματικό μέσο αποθήκευσης ενέργειας. Βραχυπρόθεσμα έως μεσοπρόθεσμα, λοιπόν, θα διερευνηθούν και λύσεις υδρογόνου χαμηλών εκπομπών άνθρακα με τεχνολογίες δέσμευσης, αξιοποίησης και αποθήκευσης του διοξειδίου του άνθρακα (Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage – CCUS), ώστε από τη μία να διασφαλιστεί η δίκαιη μετάβαση της χώρας μας και από την άλλη να ανοίξει ο δρόμος προς το καθαρό υδρογόνο μέσω της ανάπτυξης των αγορών και των υψηλής εντάσεως κεφαλαίου υποδομών υδρογόνου.

Η Ελλάδα θα κληθεί να  επιδιώξει τον φιλόδοξο αυτό στόχο για παράλληλη επέκταση και ανακαίνιση της υφιστάμενης υποδομής φυσικού αερίου της, προκειμένου να καταστεί δυνατή η μεταφορά και διανομή υδρογόνου. Αυτός είναι ο λόγος για τον οποίο οι συνεχείς ευρωπαϊκές επενδύσεις σε υποδομές αερίου συμβατές με υδρογόνο και βιομεθάνιο αποτελούν σημαντικό παράγοντα για την ενεργειακή μετάβαση του συστήματος φυσικού αερίου μας. Όσον αφορά τη μεταφορά και διανομή υδρογόνου, λοιπόν, θα πρέπει να δοθεί ιδιαίτερη έμφαση στην ανάπτυξη νέας υποδομής (greenfield), όπως επίσης και στον επαναπροσδιορισμό/επαναχρησιμοποίηση, κατά περίπτωση, υφιστάμενων δικτύων αερίου (brownfield infrastructure). Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο πρέπει να εξεταστούν ενδελεχώς ζητήματα που αφορούν την έγχυση υδρογόνου και άλλων ανανεώσιμων αερίων στο δίκτυο φυσικού αερίου που θα πρέπει να συμφωνηθούν σε ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο. Παράλληλα, η νομοθετική πρόταση που δημοσιεύτηκε στις 15 Δεκεμβρίου για την αναθεώρηση του Κανονισμού των Διευρωπαϊκών Δικτύων Ενέργειας (TEN-E) αποτελεί τον θεμέλιο λίθο για την ολοκλήρωση του υδρογόνου και των τεχνολογιών power-to-x στο ενεργειακό σύστημα της ΕΕ. Η ανάπτυξη, επομένως, μιας αλυσίδας αξίας υδρογόνου απαιτεί την εξέταση αρκετών διατομεακών πτυχών που επηρεάζουν εγκάρσια πολλούς οδικούς χάρτες, όπως την Ασφάλεια και το Κανονιστικό Πλαίσιο, την ανάπτυξη Κωδίκων και Προτύπων (RCS) και άλλα.

Όπως διαφαίνεται και από τις διαβουλεύσεις μεταξύ των Κρατών Μελών η ανάγκη για μια ολοκληρωμένη Ευρωπαϊκή Πολιτική Υδρογόνου είναι πλέον επιτακτική. Μια κοινή στρατηγική θα μπορούσε να βοηθήσει την ΕΕ να άρει τους τόσους πλεονάζοντες ρυθμιστικούς φραγμούς που αποτελούν τροχοπέδη στην ανάδυση μιας ενιαίας Οικονομίας Υδρογόνου. Ταυτόχρονα, θα μπορούσε να παρέχει μια εκτίμηση για τις μελλοντικές εισαγωγές υδρογόνου δεδομένου ότι η ευρωπαϊκή ζήτηση αλλά και η  παραγωγική μας ικανότητα έχουν εκτιμηθεί αξιόπιστα. Επιπλέον, μια φιλόδοξη επενδυτική πολιτική της Ευρώπης στον τομέα του υδρογόνου μπορεί να τοποθετήσει την ΕΕ σε ευνοϊκή θέση στην αναδυόμενη διεθνή αλυσίδα εφοδιασμού του υδρογόνου.

Για την Ελλάδα το υδρογόνο δεν αποτελεί απλώς μια ενεργειακή πρόκληση. Αναβαθμίζει παράλληλα τη θέση της στην Ευρώπη, μιας και η γεωγραφική της θέση στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο και η εγγύτητα στις περιοχές τις Β. Αφρικής έχουν σημαίνοντα ρόλο. Από τον καιρό του φιλόδοξου σχεδίου της Ένωσης για τη Μεσόγειο, όπου προέβλεπαν την παραγωγή ηλεκτρισμού και μεταφορά του με καλώδια υψηλής τάσης, η Ευρώπη γλυκοκοιτάζει και πάλι τον Νότο για την παραγωγή πράσινου υδρογόνου και μεταφορά του στην Ευρώπη. Εδώ δεν πρέπει να ξεχνάμε τον εξέχοντα ρόλο της ελληνικής εφοπλιστικής κοινότητας, μιας και κάποιος θα πρέπει να μεταφέρει το υδρογόνο στις πιο ώριμες αγορές  όπως την Ιαπωνία, την Κορέα αλλά και στις υπόλοιπες αναδυόμενες αγορές. Κάτι αντίστοιχο θα πρέπει να γίνει και για τη μεταφορά του δεσμευμένου διοξειδίου του άνθρακα σε προορισμούς αποθήκευσης, ακολουθώντας το παράδειγμα του έργου Northern Lights στην Νορβηγία. Οπότε η ενεργειακή μετάβαση είναι κάτι που αφορά ιδιαίτερα και την ελληνική ναυτιλία.

Μια Οικονομία Υδρογόνου θα μπορούσε, επίσης, να ενθαρρύνει μια νέα τεχνολογική και βιομηχανική επανάσταση στις περιφερειακές οικονομίες, δημιουργώντας αρκετές εξειδικευμένες θέσεις εργασίας. Συγκεκριμένα στην Ελλάδα μπορεί να αποτελέσει αιτία για επαναπατρισμό αρκετών επιστημόνων υψηλού επιπέδου που εργάζονται επί του παρόντος στο εξωτερικό.

Τέλος, πρέπει να τονιστεί ο ρόλος της ευαισθητοποίησης και της εκπαίδευσης του κοινού. Η παροχή τεχνικής γνώσης για το υδρογόνο και των τεχνολογιών του θα οδηγήσουν σε μεγαλύτερα επίπεδα αποδοχής και επίπεδα εμπιστοσύνης στην τεχνολογία. Γι’ αυτό και η συμπερίληψη ενός πάνελ αποκλειστικά για το υδρογόνο στο 5ο Παγκρήτιο Ενεργειακό Συνέδριο –  International Conference & Exhibition, αποτελεί σημαντική ένδειξη ότι η Ελλάδα ξεκίνησε να αναγνωρίζει πλέον το μέγεθος της ευκαιρίας. Θέλω να πιστεύω πως με μια ισορροπημένη εθνική στρατηγική που να ταιριάζει στα χαρακτηριστικά της, η Ελλάδα θα μπορέσει να αποτελέσει υπόδειγμα και για άλλες χώρες, όπως έπραξε και μια χώρα ανάλογου πληθυσμού, η Πορτογαλία.

Για αυτό το μεγάλο εγχείρημα απαιτείται ο ανάλογος συντονισμός της Πολιτείας μέσω των αρμόδιων Υπουργείων, της βιομηχανίας, της ελληνικής επιχειρηματικής κοινότητας, των Εθνικών Ερευνητικών μας Κέντρων και των λοιπών εμπλεκόμενων φορέων για μια πολυδιάστατη προσέγγιση όλης της αλυσίδας αξίας του υδρογόνου, ώστε μέσα στις αρχές του 2021 να κομίσει και η Ελλάδα την Εθνική της Στρατηγική για το Υδρογόνο. Αυτός άλλωστε είναι και ο ρόλος της Επιτροπής Υδρογόνου που συστάθηκε από το ΥΠΕΝ με τη συμμετοχή τόσο αξιόλογων ειδικών και επιστημόνων.

*Κωνσταντίνος Παπαλουκάς (MEng, MBA, MPA), Ειδικός σε θέματα Ενεργειακής Πολιτικής, Συντονιστής Επιτροπής για τη χάραξη Εθνικής Στρατηγικής για το Υδρογόνο


Charles Ellinas writes for the 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Conference & Exhibition “Gas developments in the East Med”

The international oil companies (IOCs), are still reeling under the impact of low oil and gas prices and massive losses and asset write-offs during 2020. ExxonMobil, under increasing pressure, is considering further spending cuts and even a shake-up of its board.The path to full recovery will be slow and at the end of it, in 2-3 years, the IOCs will be different, placing more emphasis on clean energy and renewables.In the meanwhile, around the East Med, Egypt is forging ahead. It has signed a new exploration agreement with Shell for an offshore block in the Red Sea. This is in addition to the 22 agreements signed during 2020 that included major IOCs such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, Eni and Total. Moreover, EGPC and EGAS are planning to offer onshore and offshore exploration blocks for bidding in February.

This continuing activity led to the discovery of 47 oil and 15 natural gas fields in 2020, 13% more than in 2019, despite Covid-19.Tareq El-Molla, Egypt’s petroleum minister, signaled earlier this month Egypt’s intention to expand its petrochemicals sector to take advantage of the country’s expanding hydrocarbon resources. Egypt has updated its petrochemical national plan until 2023 to meet the increasing prospects in this industry.

LNG exports

Egypt has also benefited from the recent increase in LNG prices, resuming exports from its liquefaction plant at Idku, with most exports going to China, India and Turkey. The country is also ready to resume exports from its second liquefaction plant at Damietta starting end February. This has been lying idle since 2012 due to disputes that have now been resolved. LNG exports will mainly utilize surplus gas from the Zohr gasfield and possibly imports from Israel, should prices allow it.

In fact, the resumption of LNG exports from Idku relieved some of the pressure on Egypt’s gas market, which is in oversupply partly due to impact of the pandemic, but also due to falling gas demand in Egypt’s power sector and growth in renewable energy.El-Molla, said that Egypt is planning a revival of its LNG exports. But this depends greatly on what happens to global markets and prices.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that the Asian LNG demand and price spike in January was a short-term phenomenon and it is not an indicator that global demand will rebound in 2021. The IEA expects only a small recovery in global gas demand this year, after the decline in 2020, partly due to the pandemic. But given ongoing concerns over the pandemic, the rate of gas demand growth will remain uncertain. The IEA said the longer-term future of LNG markets remains challenging.

Gas from Israel

Chevron – having acquired Noble Energy and its interests in the region last year – with Delek and their partners in Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar gasfields, signed an agreement to invest $235million in a new subsea pipeline, expanding existing facilities. According to an announcement by Delek, the pipeline will connect facilities at Israeli city Ashod to the EMG pipeline at Ashkelon, enabling Chevron and its partners to increase gas exports to Egypt to as much as 7billion cubic meters annually (bcm/yr).The partners signed agreements last year to export as much as 85bcm/yr gas to Egypt over a 15 year period. Gas supplies from Israel to Egypt started in January last year.It is not clear at this stage if new agreements will be reached to fully utilize the increased export capacity from Israel to Egypt, but given Egypt’s gas oversupply this may not be likely.These developments, though, show the vulnerability of Cyprus and the weakness of relying on trilateral alliances with Egypt and Israel for its gas exports.

EastMed gas pipeline

This is being kept alive by regional politicians. Only this week, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia confirmed their support for the EastMed gas pipeline.

While such developments are good politically, bringing like-minded countries around the East Med closer together, they are not sufficient to advance the project. This requires private investment and buyers of the gas in Europe. None of these is forthcoming, because the project is not commercially viable. By the time the gas arrives in Europe it will be too expensive to compete with existing, much cheaper, supplies.

Europe is also moving away from gas and from new gas pipeline projects. Catharina Sikow Magny, Director DG Energy European Commission (EC), covered this at the European Gas Virtual conference on 28 January. Answering the question how much natural gas will the EU need in the future, she said ZERO. She was emphatic that with the EU committed to net zero emissions by 2050, by then there will be zero unabated gas consumed in Europe. In addition, with the EU having increased the emissions reduction target from 40% to 55% by 2030, the use of gas in Europe will be decreasing in order to meet the 2030 and 2050 climate targets. She said that ongoing natural gas projects are expected to be completed by 2022 – with no more needed after that.

With exports to global markets becoming increasingly difficult, there are other regional options to make use of the gas discovered so far around the East Med, including power generation in support of intermittent renewables and petrochemicals, as Egypt is doing. The newly constituted East Med Gas Forum (EMGF) should place these at the heart of its agenda.

What about Cyprus?

Hydrocarbon exploration activities around Cyprus are at a standstill, partly due to the continuing impact of Covid-19, but also due to the dire state of the IOCs and the challenges being faced by the natural gas industry in general.

This lack of activity in resuming offshore exploration may be a blessing, taking the heat off hydrocarbons, while priorities shift to discussions to resolve the Cyprus problem and the Greece-Turkey maritime disputes.

Charles Ellinas writes for the 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Conference & Exhibition

Dr Charles Ellinas, @CharlesEllinas

Senior Fellow

Global Energy Center

Atlantic Council


A brave new world – Takis Pournarakis

The automotive industry moving fast towards electromobility. This will
bring dramatic changes to many areas.

Based on EU legislation, the average gas emission for each vehicle manufacturer
for vehicles registered from 1/1/2021 in Europe must be 95 g CO2/km. However,
what does this mean in practice? This means that in order to classify for example a
Mercedes AMG, they should classify at first two EQC, so that the average of the three
vehicles remains below the 95 gr CO2/km.
This will evoke immediate dramatic changes to cars produced and marketed within
the EU. Already, the very small vehicles with a thermal engine are being disappeared,
as, in the average gas emission a weight/difficulty factor is also contained. Peugeot
108, Citroen C1 stopped being manufactured, Smart is now only electric, Fiat Panda
got a hybrid version and Fiat 500 becomes electric.
If we apply the fines provided for the classifications of the new cars who emit more
than 95 gr CO2/km, making business inside EU will become almost unprofitable for
car manufacturers. The only solution left, if they want to stay active, is to pass on the
cost to the buyers.

It seems that all manufacturers will pass on some of the cost of fines to consumers,
the new car will become much more expensive and only wealthy people will be able
to buy it. Trends such as car sharing in combination with autonomous driving will
become more popular for people. Nowadays, in Athens, vehicles are parked/stacked
in traffic at 90% of their time. Imagine Athens with far fewer cars, which would be
electric, autonomous, constantly in circulation and they could communicate not only
with each other (V2V) but also with the infrastructure (V2G). Is it a science fiction
script? Do you know that in Trikala, there are two autonomous electric buses, which
transfer passengers, and they do not need a driver?

According to car manufacturers who are already preparing for the new,
completely different automobility form, in a decade, about 40% of new vehicles will
plugged in. Whether we talk about hybrid or electric vehicles, manufacturers have
decided to direct many of their investments in the development of batteries and
electric engines. In almost all the countries of the Western world, the percentage of
electric cars in circulation is increasing, reaching in some of them a double-digit
market share. This trend will raise in the following years when the European capitals
and major cities adopt the EU directive and prohibit the circulation of vehicles
emitting more than 50 gr CO2/ km in their center. The European logic "polluter pays"
that is currently in force on the traffic charges of the new cars will be renamed as
"polluter circuits limitedly ".How far are we from all these in Greece? When you see a
taxi with a Euro 2 specification, purchased in 2003-2004, leaving a black smoke
behind every time the driver speeds up, it is hard to believe that this is possible in
Athens. However, this day is no more than five years away.
With the Athens’ road network designed for 1.5 million vehicles, while today
there are the twice number of cars circulating, it is crucial for our lives to take action

to reduce pollution, noise pollution and traffic. Citizens' health and the corresponding
reduction in spending combined with saving on fossil fuels is great. Imagine a 20-
year-old SUV with three differentials and permanent four-wheel drive downtown,
next to a similar state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid model, whose thermal engine does not
run in urban areas.

PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), Mild
Hybrid Electric Vehicle or HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) pollute less or not at all,
where they circulate but they do pollute! The key question is how much they pollute
overall, in relation to vehicles using oil or gas thermal engine (ICE). A question that
takes on a completely different dimension in our country until we deregulated from
lignite. The automobility changes will be dramatic in the next few years.


Takis Pournarakis
Mechanical Engineer – Journalist – Chairman of the Organizing Committee of Motor Sports Organizations


CEO of HELPE Upstream Tassos Vlassopoulos writes for the 5th Cretan Energy Conference

Hydrocarbons in Greece

Greece has an old connection with Hydrocarbons. More than 2500 years ago, Herodotus mentions the famous oil seep in Keri Zakynthos that still brings oil to the surface.

However, this connection is not only an old history. Besides the still producing Prinos Oil field and the verified West Katakolo Oil and Gas field, the recent exploration activity has been producing interest in the Hellenic Hydrocarbons sector.

Oil & Gas exploration had started before the 2nd World War and intensified in late 70s to late 90s. A new turn was taken after 2015, the collection of some new data had been completed and new theories were proposed. International oil companies (e.g. TOTAL, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Edison), proceeded in several ventures in Greece and Helpe Upstream became an attractive partner.

Western Greece, both onshore and offshore, seems to have many analogs to the well-established Hydrocarbon provinces of Albania and Italy. In addition, following the recent discoveries in our broader region, blocks around Crete were also permitted in which Total, Exxon and Hellenic Petroleum will be exploring deep water plays.

Greece is still considered an under explored area although more than 70,000 km of 2D and 2,000 km2 of 3D seismic lines have been acquired in addition to about 100 wells that have been drilled. However, recent technology developments allow exploration to move to deeper waters in an economic manner, if there is promising prospectivity.

Greece, apart from being a hydrocarbons-promising area has also a strategic location in the middle of Mediterranean. It is in the crossroads for transporting gas, from the current or future producing fields in the Caspian and the Eastern Mediterranean, to Western Europe. IGB (Gas Interconnector Greece with Bulgaria), Poseidon, TAP and East-Med are in different stages of activity linking Greece and W. Europe with all producing regions in proximity and provide potential leverage for potential developments in the regions of Western Greece and Crete.

Oil & Gas remains a key element of the energy mix though the discussion on climate change continues and the costs for deploying renewable energy have been declining. Natural gas is the transitional fuel, as we move away from coal and trend towards renewables. Electric vehicles are making inroads in selected markets but not yet to on large scale globally. Oil remains the main fuel for all other modes of transportation and petrochemicals with no real alternatives in the foreseeable future.

Deputy Minister of Education & Religious Affairs, Mr. Vasilios Digalakis writes about the upcoming 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Conference & Exhibition

By Mr. Vasilis Digalakis

Undersecretary of Education

Imposed mainly by climate change, the upcoming modifications in the way we produce, distribute, store and consume energy constitute perhaps the greatest technological challenge of our time. Almost all of science and engineering converge in energy technologies, which is why it will be the focus of research activity and the main field of innovation in the years to come.

It is generally admitted that our country has the privilege of possessing a wealth of energy potential. However, we are lagging significantly behind in its exploitation and must move rapidly towards energy transformation, by strengthening our infrastructure and adopting innovative models of production and consumption. There is a range of challenges that we will have to face, especially due to the fact that we are launching from a particularly negative starting point with regard to the existing production and distribution assets.

Crete, in particular, having until now had an autonomous power system and major requirements especially during the summer months, constitutes an extremely urgent priority: in order to offer 1 Kwh of electricity for consumption today, 2.9 KwH of primary energy are needed, with obvious consequences for national economy and the environment.

At the same time, the rich solar and wind energy potential of the island cannot be exploited, due to the regulatory restrictions imposed by a failure of interconnection of the island with the continental network. Worse still, a significant part of the existing Renewable Energy Sources production is discarded and not exploited. This can change with the upcoming interconnections implemented by the Independent Power Transmission Operator, as well as by making use of storage technologies.

Today we have a unique opportunity: we can turn the island into a living laboratory of energy technologies. With excellent research institutes – which in some cases lead European programmes for energy transformation – Crete can and should set an example of successful application of production, management and energy saving technologies:

  • With the implementation of smart grids and the extensive installation of smart meters in order to reduce needs during peak periods, through demand response technologies and IT know-how exploitation.
  • By transforming urban centres into smart cities using intelligent energy management and energy infrastructure improvement systems combined with water management and agricultural production systems.
  • Utilizing energy storage and management technologies in conjunction with the introduction of electric vehicles (Vehicle to Grid – Grid to Vehicle).
  • Through energy upgrading of the building stock with an emphasis on tourism and hospitality and the promotion of zero energy balance buildings and zero energy emissions.
  • By reducing the urban heat island effect, which in turn can lead to a drastic reduction in energy demand during the summer season.

Key reform directions of the current political leadership of the Ministry of Education in the field of higher education are to improve the quality of education and relevance to the labour market, as well as the transfer of knowledge generated in universities to the real economy. In this context, the 5th Pancretan Energy Conference gives the opportunity to the Higher Education Institutes of the country to participate in the dialogue on the energy developments in our region and to highlight their action and research results.

The Maltese Ministry for Energy and Water Management supports and participates to the 5th Cretan Energy Conference – International Conference & Exhibition


The Ministry for Energy and Water Management in Malta looks forward to the upcoming 5th Cretan Energy Conference 2020 as a platform that will give us the opportunity to share information and insights in the energy sector; particularly at this time, where energy and climate issues are at the forefront of political and societal debate both at an EU and at a global level.

In Malta, the government’s main focus is to provide citizens and businesses with affordable sustainable and secure forms of energy which in itself is a reflection of the overarching policy fundamentals of the EU Energy Union. Over recent years, Malta has seen an overhaul in its energy sector, moving away from the use of heavy fuel oil for electricity generation towards the use of LNG in gas-fired power plants. Maintaining a diversified energy mix; reducing carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions through improved efficiency in generation capacity; strengt

hening the security of supply of the country wh

ilst ensuring the availability of appropriate back up capacity; achieving a degree of interconnection for electricity supply and overhauling the generation capacity of the country with a view to achieving higher efficiency gains remain crucial for the island.

In line with the obligations of the Governance Regulation, Malta developed its first National Energy and Climate plan in 2019, which serves as a strategic planning framework and policy document that will guide Malta’s contribution to achieving the Energy Union’s 2030 objectives and targets, whilst identifying those measures necessary for their achievement during the period until 2030, with an outlook until 2040. The plan provides a clear path for Malta to attain the overarching objectives of a sustainable, affordable and secure energy system which needs to follow a decarbonisation trajectory, whilst recognising the inherent challenges and opportunities brought about by national specificities such as spatial constraints, high population density, and a mild Mediterranean climate. This calls for specific solutions, which may also depend on further technological and cost developments.

Energy efficiency, which is one of the main drivers of our energy policy is being complemented by various government incentives. Malta recognises the importance of investing in and stimulating renewable energy sources and continuing to support the exploitation of viable indigenous sources.  Government increased its efforts to support the deployment of renewable energy, especially photovoltaics, solar water heaters and heat pump water heaters, which are particularly w


ell suited to Malta’s climate. The Government extended its current policy framework in the area of Renewables for the period until 2030, whilst providing new initiatives tailored to local specificities and acknowledging the technical, geographical and spatial barriers limiting renewable energy potential.  Malta is also assessing innovative and cost-effective solutions to increase energy system flexibility, such as the deployment of energy storage solutions, which would be necessary to compensate for the increased deployment of renewables.

Whist it is acknowledged that Mediterranean countries already cooperate in various sectors,  there is undoubtedly room for closer ties to exploit opportunities for growth based on sustainable development.  In this regard, Malta already actively participates in initiatives taken under the aegis of the Union for the Mediterranean, and is convinced that by sharing resources, including both physical, technology and knowledge, it is possible to achieve better and quicker results.  This would also make it possible to address specific challenges being faced by individual countries such as rapid


increase in energy demand,  air quality issues and network constraints.

We are all witness to the results obtained through effective collaboration on gas exploration and transmission in the East Med.  Similar collaboration hubs can surely produce similar results.  It is therefore important that existing fora are strengthened to act as the necessary platform for future collaboration.



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