ATHENS – The ongoing effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Greece – and other European Union countries – back to using coal to fire electricity plants and rolled back plans to wean off the toxic material.
Greece will keep seven coal-fired plants running for longer than previously planned as European countries adjust to a cut in gas flows coming from Russia, said Maria Rita Galli, CEO of Greece’s gas grid operator DESFA.
“In the short term some European countries will have a delay in their decarbonization (plan), but this could also be an opportunity … allowing to avoid an intermediate phase towards hydrogen,” she said in September.
The plans haven’t changed since then as Greece, after moving to rid itself of the polluting use of coal, said it had no choice but to refire plants slated to be closed until being able to find alternatives to Russian supplies.
Galli said a previous plan to phase out the seven coal-fired power plans in Greece would be delayed amid the energy crisis engulfing Europe and soaring gas prices that saw electric bills doubled, said Reuters.
Galli added that Greece was in talks with Italy to get some space from Rome where Greek operators could store gas so as to comply with a Europe-wide requirement to have fuel stocks available before the winter.
The energy site Grid also noted that EU countries have been pushed into continuing use of coal, a 19th-Century fuel, into the 21st Century as there has been no rush to move toward solar or other green and sustainable sources.
“Few choices have been tougher for than green party leaders and other environmentally conscious policymakers than feeling the need to pivot back to coal. Countries are restarting their own mothballed coal plants, and global investment in fossil fuel is rising at a moment when scientists say it should be declining – and fast,” the site said of the dilemma.