The Green Tank voted in favor of the 2021 – 2027 Just Development Transition Program (JDTP) actions that were submitted for approval to the Monitoring Committee, pointing out however some crucial reservations. The Green Tank participates as a voting member in the Committee, as a civil society organizations representative.
These three new actions fall under the Priority I of the 2021-27 JDTP which aims to strengthen and promote entrepreneurship. In particular, the actions proposed for approval were the following:
- Innovation hub for green hydrogen (H2) and energy storage in Western Macedonia, worth €18 million.
- Green data centre and supercomputer in Western Macedonia, worth €20 million.
- Support for investment projects implemented in the areas of the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) through the Just Development Transition Scheme of the Development Law – Greece Strong (Law 4887/2022, Articles 51-571) and specifically, the publication of the first call of 2023, amounting to €380 million.
Together with the approvals of the 11 actions adopted at the first meeting of the Monitoring Committee on 18 October 2022 for €161.5 million, to date, resources of €579.5 million have been activated, representing 36% of the total 2021 – 2027 JDTP.
The Green Tank in its comments stressed that the failure to activate the JDTP resources up to now in order to support energy communities of public benefit purpose in lignite regions, i.e. those that are not aimed at making profit but at meeting the energy needs of citizens through virtual net metering, is an omission that should be addressed. The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HDNO) data show that there is a great interest from citizens in Western Macedonia for self-production projects through energy communities, which can relieve citizens in a period of severe energy crisis. For this reason, The Green Tank proposes the immediate activation of the available resources of the 2021 – 2027 JDTP to cover part of the installation cost of RES self-production projects by energy communities of public benefit purpose, as well as the immediate funding of electricity grid reinforcement projects in order to accommodate such projects.
Furthermore, it stresses the need for the resources to be channeled to support entrepreneurship (€420.8 million so far) should be aligned with the national target of achieving climate neutrality, which is not ensured by the current evaluation indicators. For that purpose, The Green Tank proposes the introduction of a specific quantitative carbon footprint reduction indicator for the investments of Priority I concerning businesses that are eligible for funding.
Regarding the green Η2 hub in Western Macedonia, The Green Tank points out that Η2 is key to decarbonising sectors of the economy such as energy-intensive industries or heavy vehicle road transport, shipping and road transport. However, the reference to the use of hydrogen in fossil gas networks and for thermal energy production is unfortunate and should be removed. This is because the blending of green hydrogen with gas will hardly reduce the carbon footprint of gas networks. The reference to 100% green hydrogen in district heating networks in the distant future is not convincing, and its implementation will be non cost-effective compared to other solutions and will eventually create a need for additional renewables. Western Macedonia should switch to the electrification of heating through heat pumps or the use of locally produced biomass or geothermal energy in order to provide citizens with cheap heating with a low environmental footprint in the long term, instead of planning new fossil gas-fired heat plants for heating homes. In addition, it is noted that these uses of green hydrogen included in the Specification Document contradict the draft revised National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) presented on Monday 16 January 2023 to the NECP Committee.
The Green Tank submitted also comments on the support for investment projects implemented in the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) regions through the Just Transition Scheme of the Development Law, noting that the allocation of the €380 million between the different categories of enterprises, which is unclear in the Specification Document, should focus on small and medium enterprises and not on large enterprises. This is also foreseen by the European Regulation of the Just Transition Fund, as SMEs are the ones that will enhance the participation of the local community in Just Transition, which is a prerequisite for its success.
Finally, The Green Tank underlines the absence of any reference to youth entrepreneurship in the description of actions aimed at supporting entrepreneurship. Given that young people are the future of the lignite regions, The Green Tank proposes the allocation of specific resources for young people and the establishment of a specific indicator to curb youth drain from lignite regions, which will be a criterion for evaluating investments, an element that is still missing from the 2021-2027 JDTP.
Read the full letter sent by Green Tank to the Special Service for a Just Development Transition (JDT) here (in Greek).
More on the progress of the JDTP was published in an article by Mahie Tratsa in ot.gr titled Decarbonization: Green light for actions worth 579.5 million euro in Western Macedonia and Megalopolis (in Greek).
 The 11 actions adopted in October 2022 concerned in particular: 4 actions under Priority I for strengthening and promoting entrepreneurship with a total budget of €40.8 million, 3 actions under Priority 4 for Just Labour Transition with a total budget of €88.2 million and 4 actions under Priority 6 for technical assistance with a total budget of €32.5 million.