Clean energy: Our national capital


"Renewable Energy Sources translate to a revolutionary change in development potential", stresses Georgios Peristeris, GEK TERNA Group’s Chairman & CEO, remarking that we now have the unique opportunity to determine our country’s future”.

By Mr George Peristeris*

A finer Greece, so that young people in the country want to stay and those who have left wish to return: this is the country we all want.

A great responsibility falls on the industries called to star in this effort, in many of which GEK TERNA Group operates and excels. Today, we are presented with the unique opportunity to determine the future of our homeland the way we want it to be.

Sooner or later, the pandemic will fade. It will challenge us enormously, just like the rest of the world, but it will fade. However, it has led Europe to allocate resources in a direction that, for the first time, offers our country a natural competitive advantage! With 32 billion euros for Greece and the possibility of further leverage, the Recovery Fund constitutes a unique opportunity for our country, close to which we have not witnessed in the past decades. It accelerates pre-existing trends and pushes a clean energy future to dominate the scene, imposing a "green" content on about 40% of all investments, as well as sustainable infrastructures that increase employment and strengthen social cohesion.

We’ve got the wind; we’ve got the sun; they are part of our national capital. Clean energy is, therefore, ours, an endless national wealth that we will never run out of and that no one can take away from us! Throughout Greece’s economic course over the last 50 years, the massive cost of fossil fuel imports (oil, gas) has and continues to overshadow economic growth. Therefore, Renewable Energy Sources (RES) entail a revolutionary change in the country’s development potential. Cheap and abundant energy equals growth, leading to a drastic improvement in any country’s competitiveness and productivity.

Capitalising on our national energy wealth in RES, in combination with the large interconnection infrastructures of the islands and the storage of energy through pumping, can attract new investments of more than 8 billion euros, a high domestic value-added, a high (1.8) multiplier and - at long last - prospects for tens of thousands of new, worthwhile jobs.

Combined with digitalisation, the other domain highlighted by the Development Fund, and the reform effort that our country's position as a borrower necessitates, citizens, entrepreneurs and investors are bound to break loose from the constraints of bureaucracy and the lack of legal certainty. All these will result in an environment which will foster both the incentive and the potential for the great growth leap.

At the same time, the green, innovative, sustainable, modernising nature of the investments to come, significantly contributes to the response to climate change, mitigates the explosive development’s features and increases the country’s attractiveness as a tourist destination by solving chronic issues, such as waste management and the improvement of the environment, both natural and urban, through, for instance, electrification penetration into transport, improving in parallel the quality of life for all of us.

At this critical juncture, which shapes our country’s future, the GEK TERNA Group declares itself emphatically present. After all, it's not the first time it does so. During the financial crisis, we were present with investments of more than 2.5 billion euros and with all our cash continuously and at all times deposited with the besieged Greek banks. We have been practising and continue to do so what we have been advocating for years, namely, an investment patriotism.

At the present critical era, GEK TERNA Group has initiated a tremendous new projects and investments programme amounting to 5 billion euros and is creating more than 20,000 new jobs over the next five years in the industries it operates and stars: clean energy production and storage, the circular economy, sustainable infrastructure and concessions.

We feel validated, proud and confident as a Group.

Validated because our choices over the decades today bring the GEK TERNA Group to be "as one long prepared", that is in a leading position in the activities and industries that determine the future. Proud, because with our investments and work we contribute at the same time, without dilemmas, to our country's progress, our shareholders and all our shareholders with no exception, primarily our employees and the local communities. And confident, because the structure of the Group's operations is strategically devised to enable us to exceed the cyclical nature of economic activity and have the necessary resilience and endurance to see our investment plans conclude and bear fruit.

As a final remark, we are fully aware that businesses ought to operate within a social system and play a key role in economic and social prosperity. We strive to comply in any manifestation of our business, every single day.
* Mr George Peristeris is the Chairman & CEO of GEK TERNA Group.

Republished from and the New York Times’ Business Review special edition.