Press release: 17 December 2019

Greece’s PPC announces surprise 2023 end to lignite – but fails to withdraw its biggest polluter

Greece’s state-owned power utility company PPC has announced it will cease operating all of its existing lignite-fired power plants by 2023, but has left the door open for the country’s most polluting plant yet, Ptolemaida V, to run until 2028.

Reacting to the announcement, ClientEarth lawyer Eleni Diamantopoulou said: “PPC’s decision marks the end of the road for Greece’s lignite industry and paves the way for a renewable energy future.

“Lignite can no longer guarantee the future stability of Greece’s economy and the health of people and the planet. Other EU countries – and companies – who are currently working to a much less ambitious phase-out date should follow Greece’s example and take action to transform their energy approach.

“However, PPC is jeopardising this transformation by powering ahead with the construction of Ptolemaida V. For Ptolemaida V to become operational, it would require additional investment to meet strict environmental standards and those costs would be borne by the public.

“There is no justification for clinging to this loss-making project. It undermines national and EU commitments to phase-out coal.

“Instead of financing a power plant destined to be a stranded asset, money should be going to workers and communities to facilitate a just transition that leaves no one behind.”

In September, the Greek government announced it would close all its lignite-fired power plants by 2028 at the latest, setting the path towards a cleaner energy system for the country.

The European Commission recently published support schemes to help fund innovative storage projects. Greece should seek similar opportunities to accelerate the energy transition in the country.


About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.