Our associate Tina Koutsopoulou followed the High Level Energy Conference “Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Development in South Eastern Europe & the HELIOS Project” organized jointly by the European Commission and the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change in Athens, 3 April 2012. The Greek Prime Minister Lukas Papadimos opened the conference, whereas the keynote speakers included the Greek Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change George Papaconstandinou, the European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany Jürgen Becker, as well as representatives of public bodies and private actors in the fields of energy and renewable energy sources.

With focus on the HELIOS project, the conference addressed issues of renewable energy sources and infrastructure development. As regards the implementation of the HELIOS project, the EU Commissioner for Energy stressed out the need to reinforce the national transportation infrastructure, the connection with the islands and the development of new interconnection capacities with neighbouring countries to enable the regional integration of renewables and also to achieve the creation of a single European energy market.

As regards the financial framework of HELIOS project, the German State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment noted that energy imports by RES will take place in the long term and only as a supplement to the German energy production. As far as the sale price is concerned the German State Secretary indicated that any difference between the wholesale market price and the agreed fixed price (feed in tariff) should be subsided by other sources and not by the German consumer. In that respect, the financial advisor of HELIOS project  presented the two implementation phases of the project regarding both the statistical and the physical energy transfer as well as the options examined for the financial instrument, which will be either a guaranteed price where the difference between the fixed price and the wholesale market price will be paid by the end consumer, or a lower tariff combined with European funds.