The growth prospects emerging for Thessaly and the strategic contribution of EDA THESS were the two main topics addressed during the meeting of the Regional Governor of Thessaly, Mr. Konstantinos Agorastos, the General Manager of EDA THESS, Mr. Leonidas Bakouras and the Manager of Natural Gas Market Development – Thessaly, Mrs Efthymia Kalogirou.
Thanks to its strict planning and with full consistency to its commitments, EDA THESS concluded its €14,2 M investment planning for Thessaly and supplied all new areas according to its 2021 Approved Development Program. The Company continues investing in high standard infrastructure, keeping its focus on the safe and uninterrupted operation of the distribution network under all circumstances, always in compliance with the Legal and Regulatory Framework and its Licenses.
The Region of Thessaly is attracting strong investment interest in the industrial and manufacturing sector. This is decisively enhanced by the targeted development strategy of EDA THESS, that has led to maximizing natural gas penetration (exceeding 66% of the population) and increasing industrial consumption to 70.7 M m3 of Natural Gas in 2021, a surge of 24,7% compared to 2020.
According to EDA THESS General Manager, Mr. Bakouras, the presence of natural gas in Thessaly for 21 years has already offered high energy efficiency to all consumers and remarkable environmental benefits. At the same time, it has helped to save resources, thus creating competitive advantages for the manufacturing sector and offering incentives for the implementation of new investments.
With regard to the current energy developments, Mr. Bakouras stated: “We are in the midst of an extended health crisis and extreme price surges in the wholesale market of natural gas. However, in the first quarter of 2022, we expect a gradual deceleration of prices, as the EU intends to include natural gas activities in the Taxonomy, acknowledging natural gas as the transitional fuel and relevant investments in natural gas infrastructure as environmentally sustainable. In order to achieve climate neutrality, it is of crucial importance to support all forms of “green” energy and to fully benefit from the existing infrastructures. We strongly believe that taxonomy can bolster a just energy transition to a zero-carbon economy”.
A prominent topic in the meeting was the progress of the Project “Replacement of domestic oil heating systems by natural gas systems in the Region of Thessaly”, in the framework of the 2014-2020 NSRF for the Region of Thessaly and the NSRF Executive Unit of the Ministry for the Environment and Energy. EDA THESS is the host entity in charge of evaluating the requests, providing certification and granting the subsidy.
In this context, the Manager of Natural Gas Market Development in Thessaly, Mrs Kalogirou underlined that “the Subsidy Program was successfully implemented in 2021 and the first stage is expected to be completed by January, 20 with the delivery of €600.000 to the beneficiaries. By the end of 2022, the total amount of €6 M will be disbursed and 2.500-3.500 families in the Region will be benefited”.
In concluding, Mrs Kalogirou updated on the new areas where the distribution network is to be expanded in the first half of 2022, namely Farkadona in the Municipality of Farkadona and Falani in the Municipality of Larissa. Consumers in the new areas to be supplied, as well in the areas with existing natural gas network are able to conclude a contract with EDA THESS free of charge, as a 100% discount applies on the connection fees until 30.06.2022.
On his part, the Regional Governor of Thessaly, Mr. Agorastos, stated: “Times are hard for energy. For energy in the households, for energy in the greenhouses, for energy in the agricultural sector, the industries, the manufacturing sector. We realize the difficulties stemming from the surge of natural gas prices. We know that consultations are taking place at the EU level, as this challenge is way beyond national borders. We hope that negotiations staged for specific investment plans in conjunction with financing will be fruitful so that we end up to an agreement with the countries producing natural gas to bring prices back to the previous levels. We exercise pressure to the government and the competent Ministry to grant families using natural gas to the highest extent. Such efforts have already been made and the competent Minister, Kostas Skrekas, decided to give a grant of €0.40, reducing the price from €1.20 to €0.80. Is this enough? No! We want to return to the previous levels. However, steps are taken, any kind of support is welcomed and the government and the Ministry are showing respect and interest to consumers. All these years, we have been closely cooperating with EDA THESS. First of all, for the benefit of the environment. In the period 2017-2021, the CO2 footprint has been reduced by more than 872.000 tonnes. This is a remarkable reduction. At the same time, we have been cooperating to bring natural gas everywhere. This entails investments, money to the real local economy and a better environment. The €6 M project we implement to replace oil heating systems with natural gas, benefits more than 3.000 families in Thessaly. I would like to thank EDA THESS for its cooperation and its social contribution in Thessaly. We join our forces and we are exercising pressure to the State to ensure higher grants for natural gas and to prevent any problems in the future”.