Hot Water Bills In The Land Of 2000 Hours’ Sunshine

Energy is a commodity with variable value, it seems, depending on where you are. ‘We Greeks,’ said a fellow-traveller on the train as we departed Athens, ‘could have free hot water and free lighting all year; but we prefer to pay… Why put an annual 2000 hours of sunshine to good use, when we can produce energy more expensively in other ways?‘ He was, of course, being ironic.

The train tracks from Athens to Corinth are shiny and new, and very impressive; but there is as yet little stock to run on them. The evidence of intention to develop the Peloponnese peninsula region’s economy is plain. There are huge shunting areas and massive swathes of land ready for industrial investment and construction.

Sunshine is (almost) free
But where were the solar energy panels and, perhaps, the power windmills? We saw almost none.

It’s not the business of visitors to a neighbour in the to make critical comment. There are doubtless plenty of reasons why renewable energy is apparently not as yet the Next Big Thing in Greece…. but when you’re from the UK and accustomed to the sort of sunshine which might, saved up, boil an egg (I jest, a little) for each of us over the year, the solar blessings of the Mediterranean seem to be a gift best put to good advantage.

Counting blessings
We all fail to see the benefits of things we’re familiar with. It’s more complicated than at first glance to convert sunshine into ‘free’ energy, but perhaps our train companion had a point.

See also: Green (Solar) Energy To Resolve Greek Debt? 

P.S. A note on Africa, where the issues are much more acute: Africa awash in sunlight, but not solar energy

Posted on August 27, 2008, in People And Places, Sustainability As If People Mattered, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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