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China, Greece enjoy broad prospects in energy cooperation

(People's Daily)    14:11, November 11, 2019

Wind turbines rotate at the wind farms of Thrace. (Photo by Ren Yan from People’s Daily)

Thrace in north Greece is a region that enjoys rich wind resources. Every year, around 180 million kilowatt-hours of electricity is generated there, which can reduce 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission and save 55,000 tons of fire coals, making huge contribution to energy conservation.

A total of 4 wind farms are now jointly operated by Chinese and Greek enterprises in Thrace, which is an epitome of the highlight in the two countries’ cooperation in the energy sector.

The 4 wind farms were owned by Copelouzos Group of Greece. In 2018, 75 percent of the shares of the 4 Greek wind farms were purchased by China Energy Investment Corporation (China Energy).

“We are very satisfied with our partnership with China Energy and we are impressed with advanced know how it possesses on operation and maintenance,” introduced Christos D. Copelouzos, CEO of the Copelouzos Group commenting about the Chinese investment.”

A subsidiary of China Energy is currently operating the 4 wind farms. Li Zao, general manager of the company said that the wind farms are expected to pay 3.4 million euros of tax each year, and will donate 2 percent of their revenue to the local government for municipal construction, and 1 percent to local villagers for electricity bills subsidy.

It is learnt that Greece is seeing urgent need to optimize its energy structure, as 23 percent of its total installed capacity comes from core-fired power plants. China, enjoying leading technologies in wind and photovoltaic electricity generation, will bring broad prospects of cooperation between the two countries in new energy.

ADMIE is the only state-level operator of power transmission system in Greece. In May 2016, 24 percent of the company’s stake was purchased by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).

“The SGCC is the world’s largest utility enterprise that boasts not only strong financing strength, but also rich management experiences,” said Manousakis Manousos, chairman of board and CEO of ADMIE. According to him, the company experienced continuous growth since the joining of the Chinese enterprise, and its net profit surged nearly 40 percent last year from a year ago.

An engineer at the wind farm is checking operation statistics. (Photo by Ren Yan from People’s Daily)

In mid-March last year, a grid connectivity project linking mainland Greece and Cyclades, a group of Greek islands, southeast of the mainland in the Aegean Sea, was officially completed. It was another contribution made by the SGCC.

Then Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attended the completion ceremony and hailed that the project was of historic significance, saying the residents on these islands had realized their dream of using clean, sustained and cheap electricity.

The project is expected to save 3 billion euros of electricity charge for the residents in the next 20 years, and increase 80 million euros of tax for the Greek government.

On Crete, Greece’s largest island, China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co., Ltd. under China Energy Engineering Corporation and Zhejiang Supcon Solar Technology Co., Ltd. have teamed up, transforming rich light resources on the island into stable and adjustable electricity, and lowering the island’s dependence on diesel generation.

The entrance of Chinese energy enterprises, such as Trina Solar, China Three Gorges Corporation, and China New Era Group Corporation, are offering sustained force for Greece’s economic development.

An engineer at the wind farm pose for a picture with the wind turbines. (Photo by Ren Yan from People’s Daily)

On Sept. 30, 2017, Air China launched a direct flight between Beijing and Athens. The flight has built an air bridge for the exchanges between the two countries, and pulled closer the distance between the two ancient civilizations. Fan Heyun, general manager of Air China’s Athens operation department told People’s Daily that his company witnessed a tripling number of passengers after the route was opened, and this year the number of passengers is expected to hit 60,000.

Greece became an official member of China-Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEEC) cooperation mechanism in April, and concluded with China a three-year cooperation plan for 2020-2022, further expanding cooperation to manufacturing, R&D and finance.

The Exim Bank of China and China Development Bank hope to conduct cooperation with Greece. The Bank of China’s Athens branch is about to be inaugurated, and corporation finance will be a major business of the branch, with an aim to offer support for Chinese enterprises in investing and participating in infrastructure construction in Greece. Besides, the branch will also help introduce Greece’s featured and advantageous industries into the Chinese market.

China Energy Investment Corporation and Copelouzos Group of Greece sign cooperation documents in Greek capital Athens, July 5, 2018. (Photo provided by Copelouzos Group)

“Two thousand years ago, the ancient Silk Road once linked together Greece and China, presenting a splendid mix of the two civilizations from east and west,” said George Tzogopoulos, Greek scholar of international studies.

“Today, when globalization is undergoing in-depth development, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has closely connected the two countries,” he said, adding that Greece is an important country along the route of the Belt and Road, and the joint construction of the BRI is turning the country’s regional advantages into development and competitiveness. 

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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