Nikos Mantzaris participated in the online forum “Western Macedonia-Megalopolis: Transition to the post-lignite era and new business opportunities” organized by Enterprise Greece and the Coordinating Committee for the Development Transition Plan (SDAM), under the auspices of the Ministries of Environment & Energy and Development & Investments, on October 22, 2020.
In particular, he participated in the thematic section for investments in the energy and circular economy sectors together with representatives of local bodies and companies active in both sectors, as well as in the banking sector.
Nikos Mantzaris documented the need to further strengthen energy savings projects in lignite areas, especially in the building sector as there are is a lot of room for improvement and opportunities for the creation of many jobs and locally added value.
He also stressed the important opportunity for Western Macedonia and Megalopolis to become clean energy storage centers, thus supporting the increased penetration of renewables at levels of 86-88% in Greece by 2030, which is dictated by the higher climate ambition in the European Union to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
He specifically referred to the technologies for the production of green hydrogen, which can be combined with the 2.5 GW photovoltaics that will be developed in the two lignite regions by 2024 according to the Master plan presented by the government. He further stressed that it makes no sense for Greece, currently at point zero in terms of hydrogen, to develop fossil fuel-based hydrogen production methods given the European strategy which prioritizes green (rather than blue) hydrogen.
Finally, he stressed the opportunity to develop thermal energy storage technologies by converting retired lignite units. This option will keep many jobs in the lignite plants, has a short construction time and already combines mature technologies. In fact, large electricity companies in Europe are moving in this direction, wanting to utilize the energy infrastructure and networks of lignite and coal plants, which will be retired by 2030. Since one of them, RWE, is already cooperating with PPC in Western Macedonia for the development of photovoltaics, it is an opportunity to expand the cooperation to include conversion of lignite units to thermal energy storage technologies.
You can watch the energy and circular economy session in the following recording (in Greek):
You can see the full program of the forum here.
You can read more about the forum here.
You can read the executive summary of the detailed comments and the recommendations the Green Tank submitted to the public consultation of the Transition Plan for Greece’s lignite regions here.