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Ambassador Gjelstad on Greek-Norwegian Cooperation in the Field of Geothermal Energy

Ambassador Jørn E. Gjelstad´s opening remarks at a workshop on developing bilateral relations within the framework of the EEA and Norway Grants. The opening took place 12 September 2017 in Mati.

Dear Friends,

It is a pleasure for me to address you this morning at an event celebrating Norwegian and Greek cooperation in the field of geothermal energy.

Through the EEA grants, and with professional assistance given by two forward-looking institutions, the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources of Greece and the Norwegian Centre for Geothermal Energy Research, we have started collaborating in an area that we know hold great potentials both in Norway and in Greece.

Geothermal power is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. New technology makes it possible to increase the accessibility to this energy source significantly. Although Norway is relying on hydropower as the main source of electricity supply, much research and development has recently taken place to add on geothermal wells to our energy mix.

To me it is more than encouraging that our industrial and academic expertise in off-shore technologies also has become relevant to our emerging geothermal industry.

Like Greece, Norway would like to utilize the huge potential of geothermal energy to diversify our use of our renewable energy resources. As we know, geothermal steam resources have been mapped out many places in Greece and a significant number of geothermal wells already exist. This makes teaming up with Greece and Greek renewable energy expertise highly interesting. And we believe that the potential for joint deliverables within this area is huge.

That makes our project partnership exciting. Through our bilateral cooperation, partners have organized joint workshops, Greek professionals have attended a major conference in Bergen (the GeoEnergi 2017), they have visited geothermal energy fields and installations in Norway.  Core issues have been discussed, like the geothermal energy potential and technological challenges and innovation.

The cooperation between CRES and CGER we celebrate today, is financed by the Bilateral Fund at National Level of the EEA Grants. The overall goal of the EEA grants bilateral funds is to “do important, high-quality work together” for the benefit of both nations. Both donor state entities and relevant national stakeholders are eligible and can benefit from this funds.

The goal for the project so far has been to offer a credible professional framework for all these initiatives. And a solid foundation built on high-levelled professionalism could also, hopefully, lead to structured investments from Norwegian entities in Greece for the coming years. This would further harnessing Greece’s potential. The field of offshore and floating wind energy could well become key target areas. We hope to see multiplying effects emanating from this project partnership that could open up for new opportunities.

I hope that this cooperation has not only built a platform for exciting institutional cooperation, but also brought together experts that will give us an opportunity to foster both professional and personal relations as well as increased mutual knowledge and understanding of our two countries.

Wider effects might happen when institutions are working constructively together and common ground are being found. In that case, continued cooperation could easily go beyond projects and programmes and create new opportunities within new or well-known territories.

In the area of bilateral cooperation, it is important to keep in mind that there is not necessarily a proportional relationship between size of investment and magnitude of results. A small event may have a major catalytic effect that can trigger synergies on many levels. In many cases such events and results emerge as spin-offs from joint initiatives, and can have long-lasting effects. We should also keep that in mind.

To conclude, I am happy to inform that our excellent partnership with Greece within the area of renewable energy will be continued. I can confirm that the Centre of Renewable Energy Sources will be a partner for Norway also in the new EEA Grants period leading up to 2024.

The area of Renewable Energy stands out as an utmost topical and urgent area to address. And the Centre of Renewable Energy Sources as the most competent and credible partner we could possibly have. Congratulations CRES on a project well done. I am looking forward to new path breaking initiatives within this field as we now embark on a new period for the EEA grants, and open a new chapter.

Thank you for your attention.