Financing for a Just Transition

Nikos Mantzaris participated in the online event organized by the International Sustainable Finance Centre – ISFC, entitled “Filling the Just Transition finance gap: The role of Private capital”, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

The discussion revolved around alternative mechanisms and tools for the mobilization of additional financing for just transition, besides the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 of the European Union. Emphasis was given on the private capital and questions like how it can play a role in funding the just transition. Additionally, topics such as what are the greatest missed opportunities in the CEE region, and what are the key actions governments can take to improve private capital flows to just transition projects were touched upon. Moreover, the conditions necessary for a just transition were explored.

Nikos Mantzaris shared lessons learned from the transition process in Greece. Recognizing that Greece has been put in the forefront of Europe recently due to its decision to phase out lignite by 2028, following a180° turn in its national energy policy, he noted that it remains to be seen whether this transition will be just or not.

Nonetheless, the fact that such a decision was announced publicly made a difference in stimulating the transition planning. Until then, valuable time was lost, because of an effort to prolong the lignite-based electricity model, instead of preparing the “next day” for the two coal regions: Western Macedonia and Megalopolis. Now the planning process is under way, some things started moving in the right direction with the development of a plan with several good features as well efforts to gather funds in order to implement the various actions envisioned.

Nikos Mantzaris highlighted in conclusion that funding should not focus only on big enterprises and emblematic investments; instead, it should be directed to SMEs and local community enterprises, including energy communities. Finally, he emphasized the importance of the application of the partnership principle, both in the planning stage as well as in the governance of the overall Just Transition process, which is expected to last for several years.

Apart from Nikos Mantzaris, the panel included Katarzyna Szwarc, Policy Fellow, Sustainable Finance at Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & the Environment, UK; Michelle Horsfield, Transition Programme Director, Climate Bonds, EU, China and India; Michał Hetmański, President of the Board, Instrat, Poland; and Vilém Řehák, Banking Expert, Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank, Czech Republic. The discussion was moderated by David Murphy, Head of Development and Strategy, ISFC. The event was co-organized by the British Embassy in Prague, Czechia and the LSE Grantham Centre.

You can watch the full discussion here (in English) as well as Nikos Mantzaris’ presentation titled “Lignite Phase Out & Just Transition in Greece”: