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

Media reaction

17 December 2019

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 open and 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.

ENDS

For further information contact: press@clienearth.org

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