Energy Crisis Drives Greece Back to the Coal Age for Electricity Needs

February 14, 2023

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ push to get Greece off using coal to generate electricity was set back in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and driven the government back to using lignite.

The Ptolemaida 5 coal-fired power plant was inaugurated Feb. 14 by Mitsotakis, Public Power Corp. Chairman and CEO George Stassis and GEK Terna Chairman and CEO George Peristeris, said Balkan Green Energy News.


It was, said Mitsotakis, of necessity and that Greece, which has been seeking alternative and sustainable greener sources including wind and solar, would get off coal, perhaps later this decade.

Mitsotakis said that he accepted that “Ptolemaida 5 is of strategic importance” while adding that the use of lignite has been extended because of the war in Ukraine would be ended.

That won’t happen during his first term in office that will end sometime in the spring when elections will be held and he faces a stiff challenge from the party he deposed, the newly-rebranded SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance.

PPC’s Ptolemaida 5 was constructed by Terna in Ptolemaida in Western Macedonia. It has a capacity of 660 MW with modern technology that reduces emissions.

Mitsotakis said that the cost of lignite for Ptolemaida 5 will be 30 euros ($32.16) per megawatt hour (Mwh) compared to 45 euros ($48.25) for older lignite plants and it will emit one ton of carbon dioxide per Mwh compared to 1.4 tons for older plants, making it competitive against natural gas plants.

But that’s not enough to keep it using coal and it will switch to natural gas sometime after 2028, the energy news site said.
Western Macedonia is one of two lignite regions, the other Megalopolis in the Peloponnese and the government said the new facility would get aid from the European Union’s Just Transition Fund and Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Mitsotakis said that more than 4 billion euros ($4.29 billion) will be put into completing more than 380 projects, including more than 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) into energy.

That will include a new natural gas pipeline, developing the power and gas network, creating new district heating units, upgraded buldings and renewable projects, the report added of the disbursements.


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