Greece spending €151m per year on coal subsidies, ODI study notes

Greece spends about 151 million euros per year on coal subsidies, a European coal subsidies study conducted by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has pointed out.

The ODI study focuses on coal subsidies offered in ten EU countries responsible for 84 percent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions – Greece, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK.

The ten EU member states spent a total of 6.3 billion euros on coal subsidies between 2005 and 2016, the ODI study found.

Greece was given a “poor” transparency rating in the study, which noted the “Greek government does not publish an overview of the counry’s coal subsidies.”

It stresses that despite EU commitments made to counter climate change, coal subsidies continue to be offered in these EU member states.

“The European Commission has repeatedly called on EU member states to end all environmentally harmful subsidies, including those to fossil fuels, by 2020,” the study notes.

“Despite these commitments, Greece continues to provide high subsidies to coal, while plans for phasing out this support are lacking. At a national level, the majority of financial support to lignite is provided through the capacity remuneration mechanism. This provides support to lignite power plants in exchange for the ability to produce electricity, equivalent to €40,423 per MW of electricity production in 2013 and totaling €149 million in support of lignite power plants that year,” the study noted.

It continues: “Greek government support is also provided in the form of an excise tax refund for energy products that are used within the EU (including coal), which are estimated at a total of €1.3 million annually for coal 2006-2014 (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2016), while an excise tax exemption is granted to consumers in the use of coal and coke.”