Just Transition and Employment in Greece

Posted on 17 December 2020

In his address to the 74th UN General Assembly, on the 23 September 2019, the Greek Prime Minister announced the closure of all the country’s lignite-fired power plants by 2023, with the exception of the “Ptolemaïs V”, which is projected to operate until 2028, although an official decision has not yet been taken about its future.

Moreover, the announcement included a revised target of increased renewable energy penetration up to 35% (final consumption) by 2030, from approx. 18% today. To implement the plan, in December 2019 Greece’s Council of Ministers set up a governmental monitoring committee.

As a small–but critical – contribution to the lignite phase-out process, WWF Greece has shared ‘best practices’ of a socially inclusive coal phase-out process, widely known as ‘just transition’ from regions that provided electricity to the country for several decades and are about to alter their productive model. Those regions are W. Macedonia and Megalopolis in the Regional Unit of Arcadia.

We are facing a climate crisis, thus shifting towards clean energy sources while moving away from fossil fuels is urgent. Yet, doing so without the right preparation and consultation runs the risk of generating grave social and financial consequences and could be inefficient.

For WWF Greece, there are three fundamental aspects towards a successful lignite phase-out process:

  1. A mid-to-long term strategy towards a productive upturn of lignite regions, by way of new investments
  2. Short-term management of consequences
  3. Effective participation of local communities

In November 2020 WWF Greece launched a new report with the title “’Just Transition & Employment in Greece’’ analysing the impacts of the proposed initiatives deriving from the governmental Just Development Transition Plan in Greece and proposing targeted interventions in order to secure that no one will be left behind, identifying the jobs of the future, beyond fossil fuels.

Greece is one of the first countries to develop a Just Transition Development Plan. WWF Greece presents this report as a constructive contribution on the just transition implementation policies in order to safeguard the efficacy of the process for people and nature.

“Our vision for the next day of Greek coal regions is to secure a better future. A transition plan should be just, enjoy the full support and participation of local communities so as to maximize the benefits for them, without leaving anyone behind, enhancing social cohesion”.

Dimitris Tsekeris, Energy Policy Officer - WWF Greece