Renowned US economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz told To Vima that Greece has the potential to emerge as a renewable energy exporting powerhouse. He was speaking during a recent visit to Athens, where he attended the 27th annual Economist Government Roundtable, entitled “The great transition: geopolitics, environment, technology.”

Stiglitz, 80, underlined that the Greek economy’s greatest strength lies in its tourism sector, noting that “…the main source of wealth for Greece is the sun.” He warned, however, that despite the current government’s concerted efforts to attract as much foreign direct investment as possible in tandem with soaring tourism inflows following the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s economic model remained “unbalanced.”

“You [Greece] could be the largest exporter of renewable energy”, he said, commenting on the potential for economic growth and the most profitable sectors the country should focus on. “Instead, you are still importing oil. But you Greeks are lucky. We, in the US, design and implement huge subsidy programs. You have two good sources of revenue for now: tourism and funds from the rest of Europe.”

Renewable energy sources in Greece accounted for 29 percent of domestic electricity consumption in 2021, compared to the EU average of 34 percent.

By 2030, renewables are expected to exceed 61 percent in Greece’s electricity mix, surpassing EU targets, according to the government’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

Joseph Stiglitz is the author of numerous books including, most recently People, Power, and Profits, Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy, and Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited.