In a letter to the representatives of the institutions supervising Greece’s economy, WWF Greece raises serious concerns that the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund push the cash-strapped country towards further expanding its dependency on lignite. In the letter dated 10 November 2017, WWF Greece’s CEO Demetres Karavellas expresses “deep concern about the obligatory sale of the 40% of the Public Power Corporation’s (PPC) lignite capacity, along with the persistence on building new lignite units, both of which will have severe impacts on Greece’s energy future and on the company’s viability”.
The inclusion in Greece’s Third Economic Adjustment Programme of the obligation to sell 40% of PPC’s lignite assets is already negatively influencing Greece’s position regarding new EU legislation. For example, in the context of the Electricity Market Regulation reform process Greece has been persistently fighting against the European Commission’s proposal to exclude coal plants from capacity mechanisms, in order to render Greek lignite plants artificially “attractive” for potential investors. Should the Greek effort be successful, billions of euros will flow towards coal infrastructure not just in Greece but all over the EU, thus impeding the EU’s progress towards meeting its climate commitments and goals.
Τhe institutions should remove the obligation of PPC to sell 40% of its lignite assets, as it suffocates Greece’s energy future. The EU must necessarily encourage the Greek government to commit to phasing out lignite by 2030 as most EU member states are already in the process of decarbonisation.