Top officials visit north for post-lignite fair transition plan talks

The leaders of Greece’s energy and development ministries and power utility PPC’s chief executive have scheduled a two-day visit, today and tomorrow, to Kozani and Florina, both lignite-dependent areas in Greece’s north, for an initial presentation to local authorities of the government’s plan for a fair transition towards the post-lignite era.

PPC’s lignite-fired power stations operating in the wider area are all headed for withdrawal by 2023 as part of the government’s decarbonization plan.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, his deputy Gerassimos Thomas, secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou, as well as development and investment minister Adonis Georgiadis, will offer local communities a first impression of the government’s fair transition plan.

For decades, these communities, in the west Macedonia region, have depended on PPC’s regional lignite mines and power stations for their livelihoods.

Hatzidakis, the energy minister, and PPC chief executive Giorgos Stassis will visit lignite fields and PPC facilities for talks with workers and supervisors. Stassis has also planned meetings with union groups.

In a symbolic gesture, the energy minister will also visit the environmental group Arcturos, his intention being to highlight the environmental importance of the government’s decarbonization effort.

Local mayors, MPs and representatives of the area’s business and academic communities are expected to present demands and opinions for the region’s post-lignite growth plan.