From lignite to light: on Greece’s energy transition

Almost four years since the announcement to phase out lignite, energy transition in Greece’s lignite regions offers valuable insights for coal regions across the EU navigating their way away from coal. In his discussion with Seden Anlar and Olivia Saxer, for the podcast series Europe Climate Connection presented by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Nikos Mantzaris maps the key facts and challenges of the country’s decarbonization process, against the background of the energy crisis.

Despite significant progress, risks that threaten Greece’s path to a truly just transition he highlights are real. Among them:

  • The centralized, top-down governance mechanism
  • The lack of transparency and consultation regarding the allocation of funds,
  • Problematic funding priorities
  • The lack of funds dedicated to prevent further youth drain in Western Macedonia and Megalopolis.

Drawing on this experience, the Greek case shows that an early and participatory planning and implementation process for the Just Transition are essential. Adding to this, the ongoing acceleration of renewables in conjunction with energy savings to shield citizens against the energy and the climate crisis shows that the rapid switch from coal to renewables is in fact possible, encouraging other countries not to insist on a coal to gas switch to cover their electricity needs.

The podcast titled “From lignite to light: Greece’s resilient energy transition” includes a short statement by Ioanna Kostarella, Assistant Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

It was published on February 7, 2024, and it is available on Spotify and Apple.