The role of RES in Western Macedonia’s post-lignite future

Nikos Mantzaris participated in an online meeting of the programme “DeCarb: Supporting the clean energy transition of coal-intensive EU regions” on the “Introduction of renewable energy sources in the mix of energy resources of transition regions”, following an invitation of the President of the Regional Association of Municipalities (PED) of Western Macedonia, George Dastamanis, and the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), on November 8, 2021.

In the meeting, coordinated by Dionysis Giannakopoulos from CERTH, Kalliopi Kyriakidou, Western Macedonia Region Vice Regional Governor on Energy, Infrastructure and the Environment, Lefteris Ioannidis, former mayor of Kozani, Emmanouil Karambinis, Scientific Collaborator of CERTH, and Antonios Dimitriou, Head of the Energy & Environment Department of the Regional Development Agency of Western Macedonia (ANKO S.A.) also participated.

In his presentation, Nikos Mantzaris presented official data that render the shift to Renewable Energy Sources (RES) with parallel phase out of both lignite and fossil gas a necessity, in order for Greece to achieve its climate goals. He also presented data showcasing that the development of RES is also an economic necessity. More specifically, he highlighted the fact that the current energy price crisis is essentially a result of our dependence on fossil fuels and that the only way to shield the economy and citizens from current and future energy price crises is to accelerate the development of RES. He then focused on the role of RES in the existing planning for the Just Transition of Western Macedonia. He gave special emphasis on the progress of the institution of energy communities in the lignite regions by analyzing the official data of HEDNO.

This was followed by a discussion among the participants on a variety of issues related to the transition, such as the role of green hydrogen, the challenges related to the development of non-profit energy communities, energy storage, while a special discussion was held on the solution selected for the heating of the citizens of Western Macedonia in the post-lignite era.