Power Imbalances - Alternatives for the energy sector in Greece and its European and global context

Languages: English, Greek
Organization: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Brussels and Athens
Contact: Alexis Passadakis, email, Marlis Gensler, email

The history of capitalism is full of tensions for the control of the energy sector. Tensions arising from internal or external pressures, such as tensions within capitalists, conflicts between capital and public demands, financial crises, climate change or environmental disasters.

Today, a combination of environmental, political, economic and financial factors relating to energy production, distribution and consumption, put the current mode of production globally under serious question: the scarcity of the remaining conventional energy resources, the exploitation of which becomes the main object of conflict between governments, corporations and communities, the market-driven development of the renewable sector without the active participation of local societies in the process, the rise of fuel and energy prices and the liberalization of the energy markets, the emergence of strong social movements demanding a more democratic management of the energy resources. All these issues are key in the national, regional and global arena of our time.

In addition, the scientifically proven and accepted phenomenon of climate change shows us that in modern capitalism the rate of transformation of the biophysical environment (human activity) "competes" directly with the basic biogeochemical processes of the planet. The dynamics and exact consequences of changes of such scale are very difficult, if not impossible, to estimate in advance

Greece nowadays –with the well-known debt crisis in full progress- is not uninvolved in the world energy-control game. The total exploitation of wind and sun energy is thought to become vital for any rescue plan for the Greek economy in accordance with the “principles of the green capitalism”. The country’s province and especially the Greek islands are considered by the private capital as favorable areas of green investments mainly, but not only, in the field of wind energy. At the same time, in accordance with the current international trend of “new extractivism”, there are major projects underway, initiated both by international and domestic political and corporate interest groups, for investments in hydrocarbons extraction activities.

At the same time, debates regarding the ownership of energy resources and the privatisation of the energy sector as part of the IMF-EU-ECB loan agreement, the composition of the energy mix and the contribution of renewables to it, the price of electricity and energy poverty often emerge in the public sphere

These developments are posing important and hard to answer strategic challenges to the left.
About the conference

How can a left-wing policy address the challenges regarding the energy system in a progressive and emancipatory way amidst this crisis? Which are the key issues which need to be discussed now and how is the ecological debate affected by these developments? What is the role of the state, the local authorities, the unions and the local communities in the newly formed political and social landscape? Are fossil fuels the only possible future and under what conditions the renewable energy sector could take the lead in the greek energy system? What are the implications of the European and the global level on the Greek energy system? What can learnt from the South for the Greek context?

The public conference aims at bringing together scholars, activists, union members, policy makers and people, who are active in the field of energy, from Greece other European countries and the South in order to identify the key issues of the energy “puzzle” in Greece today in ist European and global context and further enhance the left alternative strategy for the energy sector.

Opening event

Time: Thursday, 10th October 2013
Venue: Technical Chamber of Greece, Nikis str. 4, Auditorium (1st floor), Athens


Time: Friday and Saturday, 11th and 12th October 2013
Venue: Titania Hotel, Panepistimiou Str. 52, Athens

Book presentation

Time: Saturday, 12th October 2013, 21:00
Venue: Social & Cultural Centre "Anoihti Poli", Panepistimiou 56, Athens, 1st floor, Athens more
Conference programme:

Conference programme (PDF-Download)
Conference papers:

  • Alexis Charitsis and Giorgos Velegrakis: Transition beyond oil in Greece? Debates, imbalances, (alternative) strategies, vision (PDF Download)
  • Yannis Eustathopoulos: The participation of trade unions in the discourse on energy (PDF Download)
  • Thodoros Karonis: The situation in West Macedonia facing the prospect of the energy transition (PDF Download)
  • Pavlos S. Katsivelis: Energy in Greece. Basic information and figures (PDF-Download)
  • Ioannis Margaris: Alternative strategy for the energy sector in Greece – Vision for the year 2030 (PDF-Download)
  • Tadzio Müller: Greece under SYRIZA? Four scenarios for an energy politics of the future (PDF-Download)

Background documents

Context of conference

The conference is an activity of the working area "Socio-ecological transformation focus energy" of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Brussels. See also the international conference Socioecological Transformation Focus Energy in Vienna, July 2013.