IEA: Greece needs to hold back on central role of natural gas

Elevated natural gas prices combined with Greece’s effort to end its dependence on Russian supply raise questions about the central role Athens is placing on gas as a transitional fuel, the International Energy Agency IEA has noted in a special report on Greece.

Greece’s current dependence on natural gas can be considered incompatible with the country’s climate policy, the reported notes, adding that investments in gas network expansion would be better directed towards energy efficiency, renewables and storage.

The government needs to reexamine and rationalize the role of natural gas in the energy sector and related policies to avoid projects that will come to nothing, the IEA report warned.

Until now, competition has remained limited in the Greek electricity and gas markets, with large players in dominant positions, the reported noted, adding that both the government and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, must continue their efforts to ensure a high degree of liquidity, transparency and competition.

RAE, according to IEA, is severely understaffed and faces difficulties in offering appropriate remuneration to attract competent and experienced staff.

Necessary experience and capacity for performing tasks may be lacking at RAE, shortcomings which could jeopardize further market reforms, the IEA report noted, while also expressing concerns about a lack of independence at RAE restricting its ability to perform.