ATHENS – Soaring energy prices and utility bills that have nearly doubled have forced Greece’s New Democracy government to renege on a plan to get away from electricity plans using coal to generate power.
The government has agreed to double the production of electricity using lignite coal as part of a four-point plan to ensure an adequate supply of energy at affordable prices, the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency said.
That was an agreed to at an emergency meeting on the energy crisis overseen by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsoakis although coal is a contributor to climate change he largely blamed for disastrous 2021 wildfires across the country.
Coal-powered electricity production will replace that using more expensive and possibly entirely unavailable natural gas, with the cost estimated to be roughly half that of natural gas at current prices.
But with growing worry that Russian fuel supplies exempted from European Union sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine could be lost during the winter, it will take time to increase production from coal mines to produce more, the report said.
In 2019, the government’s ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan aimed to phase coal out of the electricity mix by 2028 at the latest and it’s uncertain how returning to the fuel now will affect that timeline.