The 12th annual conference "GEFYRES'' entitled “GREEN GROWTH AND ENERGY PLANNING IN WESTERN GREECE” was organized by the Institute of Development of Western Greece (INADE) and iForce Communications on Saturday, November 27th 2010 in the Papastratio Megaron in the city of Agrinio. The conference was held for the 12th time with the support of the The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) as a gold sponsor and in cooperation with the Interim Management Authority of Western Greece. The conference was opened by Mr. Thanassis Papandropoulos, President of INADE. The keynote speaker was Mr. Dimitris Mavrakis, Professor and Director of Energy Policy and Development Center (KEPA) of the University of Athens. Greetings were given by the Secretary - General of the Region of Western Greece, Mr. Anastasios Apostolopoulos, His Eminence Metropolitan of Aitoloakarnania, Mr. Kosmas, Vice-Prefect of Aitoloakarnania, Mr. Demosthenes Kaponis, Deputy Mayor of Agriniuo, Mr. Stathis Tsoukalos and Mr. Michalis Giannakis, Member of Parliament, Head of the Committee on Energy & Natural Resources of New Democracy Party.
Professor Mavrakis, referred in his presentation to the Environmental Strategy Europe 2020 and described the specific way of integration of the Region of Western Greece in the European environmental affairs. He presented the environment as an opportunity to face the problems of the economic crisis and called for active participation of local communities in issues of environmental development. However, he stated that the city has to take appropriate actions, otherwise public subsidies on PV systems could have a reckless result especially in rural areas and might lead to a future bubble in the Greek economy.
The keynote speaker’s presentation was followed by a round table chaired by Secretary - General of INADE, Mr. Fokion Zaimis, attended by Dr. Andreas Triantafyllopoulos, Chemical and Environmental Engineer and Member of Parliament (PA.SO.K), Mr. Vasillis Koutsis, CEO of AKARPORT S.A., Dr. Yiannis Poulios, Consultant of Cultural Heritage Management and Professor in the University of Western Greece, Mr. Savvas Peltekis, General Manager of TUV HELLAS, Mr. Hippokrates Chatziangelidis, Financial Advisor, Mr. Chris Tsiligiannis, Spokesman of Aitoloakarnania Prefecture and Mr. Yiannis Selimas, Environmentalist and Member of the Department of Environmental and Planning Division of PA.SO.K. The speakers stressed the need for the "green growth" as the production of high added value services and job creation while respecting natural resources and environment. They highlighted the comparative advantages of the Region of Western Greece and stated that if government pursued appropriate policies, it might give in the area the characteristics of a green region in the near future.
Later Mr. Makis Makkas, the journalist of "Acheloos TV,” moderated the lively debate with all the delegates, lasting for more than 90 minutes. Questions and interventions were given by Mr. Petropoulos, Prefect of Aitoloakarnania, Mr. Rokos, President of TEE Aitoloakarnania,Mr. Skiadas, representing Agricultural Associations, Mr. Kefalidis, President of Students of the Western University of Greece as well as many citizens of Agrinion and students attending, especially from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the University of Western Greece. Mr. Vassilis Patronis, Assistant Professor of the University of Patras, was asked to summarize the speeches and the interventions. He pointed out that the green growth in Western Greece is not compatible with the environmental degradation, the diversion of the Acheloos River and the lack of rail network in the region. KEY CONCLUSIONS OF THE CONFERENCE:
1. The Region of Western Greece and particularly the Aitoloakarnania area posses rich resources of renewable energy (RES), especially water and wind resources.
2. The active participation of citizens in the sharing of the profits of green development is important especially in a new market oriented model of production and distribution of energy
3. Selection and separation of civil waste may have significant financial benefits
4. It is essential to change the pricing methods of the natural resources (water, wind, sun, etc) in order to include local societies (if these companies are not 100% public).
5. The procedures for all PV parks and small private solar installations must be executed quickly and planned carefully by stakeholders that are aware of future risks and market changes.
6. Time planning and implementation of investments should be reduced significantly and the government should take full responsibility for redesigning of these processes by limiting bureaucracy.
7. Lack of planning for supply of natural gas in Western Greece because of the low purchasing power in the region, creates conditions of unequal competition with the rest of the country. It is necessary to correct pricing of natural renewable energy resources.
8. We need long-term strategic planning and development of energy policy with the participation of government, regional government/authorities, local universities, institutes and active citizens.
9. Investment in Innovation may have significant positive results if market rules are followed.
10. Subsidies to non-development policies and programs, particularly in the agricultural sector have disrupted healthy market forces and created distortions and unfair competition.
11. Fears and reactions of local communities to invest in renewable energy do not respond to logical and scientific problems, but to communication misleading.
12. The region of Western Greece with its industrial tradition, its existing industrial areas (industrial area of Patras, NAVIPE Astakos) and the ferry link with Western Europe from Patras, gives further advantages in the region.
13. Local societies are in great need for scientific and practical information in matters of green development without any political motives.
INADE supports the active participation of citizens and ngo’s of the Greek region in order to pursue an open, free and useful social and scientific dialogue on regional development withoutcommunication rivalries. Opinions of the speakers at INADE’s events does not reflect the Institute’s positions.
Golden sponsor of the conference was OTE.
Sponsors were the companies TUV HELLAS, 3E FANTA, HONEYBEE, TRISOLAR and supporters the European Parliament’s Office in Athens, European Journalists Association, Kelemenis Law Firm and the prefecture of westrn Greece. Media sponsors were AXELOOS TV CHANNEL, NET Radio in Patras and Ioannina, newspapers KERDOS and CITY PRESS.
LINKS: www.inade.gr, www.iforce.gr ,
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