Berlin, 24 September 2019 – The Greek Prime Minister and Hungarian President have just announced that their countries will phase out all coal-powered electricity production by 2028 and 2030 respectively, paving the way for a just transition to renewable energy.
Until now, Greece’s power mix has been relying on coal and a new lignite plant is currently being built, which was supposed to operate beyond 2050. The announcement delivered by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York overnight makes Greece the only country in Southeast Europe to have announced a coal phase out date. Details of the strategy to achieve the target will be announced by the end of 2019.
“The announced coal phase-out for Greece is a historic milestone in Europe’s path to become coal-free by 2030, and should be celebrated as such. Coal has been bleeding the Greek economy and damaging health and communities for decades, despite the country’s significant renewable energy potential that remains largely underexploited. Now the government needs to make detailed plans for a managed just transition away from coal, without falling into the dangerous trap of other fossil fuels like gas and oil. They also need to support the affected workers, communities and regions,” said Mahi Sideridou, Managing Director at Europe Beyond Coal.
In a further development in New York, the Hungarian president also announced plans to phase out its coal-powered electricity production by 2030. Discussions around a coal phase out have been underway for some time in Hungary, and while this news is welcome, Hungary can and should target a more ambitious 2025 phase out date. The challenge for both Greece and Hungary now is to implement a clear plan for a just transition from coal to renewable energy sources so workers and communities are not left behind.
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
Mahi Sideridou, Managing Director, Europe Beyond Coal campaign (Greek, English, French)
1) Case studies on Greek communities impacted by lignite mining: https://bit.ly/2kPOTOK
2) Images free to use with attribution, illustrating village destruction for lignite in Greece are available here: https://bit.ly/2mou0dD. Featured villages are Anargyroi, which was severely impacted by a landslide caused by the neighbouring coal mine in 2017; and Mavropigi, which is in the process of being razed to make way for coal mining expansion.
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner.