10 June 2024

Greece’s renewable energy surge sparks record low coal use

BERLIN, 10 June 2024 – The expansion of renewable energy is driving coal out of Greece, with coal output plummeting to a record low of 50 GWh in May 2024 – more than three times lower than the previous record. Meanwhile, Greek state-owned Public Power Corporation (PPC) has recently announced that it will cease coal operations by 2026, effectively accelerating Greece’s coal exit from 2028 to 2026 [1].

Despite the fact that 2028 is Greece’s official coal phase-out date, as enshrined in both Greece’s first climate law and the draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), in January 2024 PPC confirmed it intends to complete its lignite phase-out plan and be coal-free by 2026, two years ahead of the government’s deadline [2]. 

The cost efficiency of renewables is crushing the prospects of coal in a country as rich as Greece in wind and solar resources. Greece’s renewable energy deployment has soared in recent years, with the country aiming for 96.7 percent renewable energy in its power system by 2035. To maintain and make the most of this impressive momentum, we encourage the Greek government to prioritise flexibility solutions such as storage and grid enhancements,” said Alexandru Mustata, campaigner at Beyond Fossil Fuels. 

Included in PPC’s 2026 coal phase-out announcement is the Ptolemaida 5 coal plant, which began operations in December 2022. The risk of this plant becoming a stranded asset was clear from the outset. It cost more than EUR 1.5 billion to build and will operate for only four years [3].

From the very start, it was clear that Ptolemaida 5 should have never been built. The plant is poised to have the highest electricity production costs in the history of thermal power plants. Greece must avoid making the same mistake by building unnecessary new gas plants, which will become stranded assets, like Ptolemaida 5, in a few years. Instead, it should accelerate investments in more affordable wind, solar, and energy storage technologies,” said Nikos Mantzaris, Senior Policy Analyst & Partner at the Green Tank.

END

Contacts:

Alexandru Mustață, Campaigner, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected], +40741926908

Nikos Mantzaris, Senior Policy Analyst & Partner, The Green Tank, [email protected], +306937324780

Julia Pazos, Communications Officer, Beyond Fossil Fuels, [email protected], +13109949692

Notes:

  1.  PPC’s three-year strategic plan https://ppc-capitalmarketsday2024.com 
  2. Greek National Energy and Climate Plan, 2019 https://energy.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2020-03/el_final_necp_main_en_0.pdf
  3. https://ypodomes.com/the-new-ptolemaida-5-power-station-to-start-operating-in-the-spring/ 

About: 

Beyond Fossil Fuels is a collective civil society campaign committed to ensuring all of Europe’s electricity is generated from fossil-free, renewable energy by 2035. It expands and builds upon the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, and its goal of a coal-free Europe in power and heat by 2030 at the latest. www.beyondfossilfuels.org

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