The government on Friday unveiled what it calls a “comprehensive strategy” to lower electricity costs for rural communities, an announcement coming amid stepped up mobilizations by farmers in the country and around Europe. Speaking in Thessaloniki, Environment and Energy Minister Minister Theodoris Skylakakis outlined five measures for affordability and sustainability in the agricultural sector.

1. An additional 10% discount on rural electricity, following a decision by the Public Power Corp. (PPC). The discount will be applicable from May to September months of high agricultural consumption.

2. Settlement of debts to PPC and other providers. In Thessaly, the General Soil Improvement Organization will be abolished, and related activities will be integrated into a new Thessaly Water Organization, with the state covering 75% of its debt. For the rest of Greece, the debts will be settled with a 10-year repayment plan and zero interest, subsidized by the state.

3. To address the increased energy costs for farmers, the government will ensure a medium-term cost reduction of at least 30% for farmers participating in cooperative schemes and those engaged in contract farming, for a decade. To achieve this, it will prioritize and subsidize the construction of photovoltaic parks with batteries, exclusively available to these categories of farmers, in the form of long-term bilateral agreements for the provision of electrical energy.

4. A significant milestone is the “Apollo” program, the largest energy aggregation program with green energy in the country. Through competitions, mature projects of Renewable Energy Sources will be selected to commence electrification within two years. Through the “Apollo” program, Local and General Soil Improvement Organizations will experience substantial and permanent relief from energy costs.

5. A new program, exclusively for individual farmers, titled “Photovoltaics in the Field,” with a budget of €30 million, will be launched immediately. Simultaneously, the “locked” electrical space available to farmers will be doubled. Additionally, the permissible limit for farmers’ photovoltaic installations will be increased from 10kW to 50kW.