Greece gets funding for energy upgrades

July 15, 2011 at 6:56 AM

ATHENS, Greece, July 15 (UPI) -- The Greek public utility company gets more than $440 million to promote energy security and efficiency in the country, a European lender said.

Plutarchos Sakellaris, vice president of the European Investment Bank, met in Athens with officials at the Greek Public Power Corp. to discuss green energy production and electricity transmission and distribution networks in Greece.

Sakellaris said it was agreed the EIB would provide $440 million to the Greek utility.

"Today's signatures in support of climate action and energy are a decisive step forward for not only development but also sustainable growth," he said in a statement.

EIB funds target a natural gas plant and extensions to the Green electrical grid.

The funding comes amid concerns about European debt. A default by Italy is increasingly feared by officials. The country, whose debt is 120 percent of its annual gross domestic product, was to have four bond auctions Thursday, seeking to raise more than $7 billion.

Finance ministers said auction success was essential so Italy, the European Union's third-largest economy, can show it's not in danger of losing access to market funding.

These actions and an unraveling uncertainty followed the eurozone's failure Monday to come up with a comprehensive second bailout deal for Greece, worth $120 billion.

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