Greenpeace activists from Greece, Italy and Spain spread a 600 square meter arrow banner today, reading “Oil is fueling Greek debt,” pointing at a Greek oil-fired power plant under construction on the island of Rhodes, to reveal one of the most unacknowledged causes of the Greek crisis; the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.
This protest launches Greenpeace Greece’s new crowdfunding campaign to draw international support toward debt-ridden Greece’s most significant investment opportunity; its sun. All proceedings from the campaign will be used to install solar panels throughout communities that face serious energy problems.
“We know the world is watching Greece, so we’re asking the world to help us serve up a solution to wasteful spending on expensive oil. The sun is already our greatest asset, not just for tourism, but because it’s an unlimited and free energy source that can beat back recession and power sustainable development. Let’s use it,” said Takis Grigoriou, Climate & Energy campaigner at Greenpeace Greece.
Over-reliance on expensive energy imports hampers any realistic prospect for economic recovery in Greece. Oil-powered electricity generation for Greece’s sunny islands alone currently burdens Greek consumers with 800 million euros each year in oil subsidies – a sum equal to that of new pension cuts proposed to reduce the national budget expenditure. Despite this, there is no solid plan to phase out oil, as the construction of the new oil plant in Rhodes shows.
“Solarizing the Greek economy is a win-win-win scenario: Not only can Greece dramatically cut costs and save billions from energy imports, we can also shift to clean, sustainable energy and redirect funds to where they matter most: pensions, welfare policies and stimulating the economy,” added Grigoriou.