A question forwarded by ruling Syriza party Euro MP Stelios Kouloglou to the European Commission’s climate change and energy chief concerning project awarding procedure delays for the Athens-Crete grid link has unintentionally raised the alarm for urgent action at the energy ministry and RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, suddenly both under major pressure to seek a solution that would prevent an energy shortage problem on Crete as of 2020.
Responding to the Greek MEP’s question, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete made clear, in a public statement, Greece will not be granted any further deadline extensions beyond December 31, 2019 for diesel-fueled power stations operating on Crete.
The commissioner’s reaction also serves as a preemptive response to any deadline extension, as has been contemplated by Athens, for Crete’s diesel-fueled power stations. Such a request has yet to be made.
According to sources, highly ranked Brussels officials visiting Athens last month had kept alive the prospect of a deadline extension for Crete’s high-polluting power stations until the energy shortage fears on the island were overcome, under the condition that this allowance was accompanied by an environmental initiative from Athens, such as the withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations operating on the mainland.