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Greece to draw green projects worth 45 bln euros by 2015: PM

by Staff Writers
Athens (AFP) Oct 23, 2010
Greece will attract renewable energy investments worth 45 billion euros over the next five years amid efforts to turn around its ailing economy, the prime minister said on Saturday.

"Our country has enormous renewable energe sources that remain untapped," George Papandreou told a green investment forum on the heels of a conference on Mediterranean climate change in the Athens suburb of Vouliagmeni.

"We are opening up the energy market where public and private sector partnerships will play a crucial role," he said.

Investments on renewable energy projects in Greece are already expected to reach 1.2 billion euros (1.68 billion dollars) next year compared to just 400 million in 2009, he said.

On coming to power in October, Papandreou wanted to completely overhaul the Greek development model that has relied for decades on construction and services, with a shift to sustainable growth.

But the plan was sidetracked by a national debt crisis that pushed the country to the brink of default earlier this year before the European Union and the International Monetary Fund rode to the rescue with a massive bailout loan.

A wave of austerity measures monitored by Greece's creditors has pushed the country deeper into recession and the government is now desperately trying to revive demand. It has sought Israeli expertise on sustainable growth projects and has made overtures to potential investors in the Arab world.

"We will not become competitive through classic wage cut methods but through investment in a different development model that adds value to our products and services," Papandreou said on Saturday.

The first major investment in the field was a 3.5-billion-euro Qatari project for a liquefied natural gas and power plant at the western port of Astakos.

But the plan foundered this week owing to disputes within the private consortium working on the project.

The Mediterranean climate change conference was called at Papandreou's invitation ahead of a Cancun meeting on the issue next month.

Participants including Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to work together to combat the effects of global warming that threaten the region.

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