Climate change fears keep Greece away from coal weaning | archives, greece, history & science
KOZANI, Greece – Greece wants to move away from coal because of climate change but cannot yet move away from coal – because of climate change.
This is the conundrum facing the New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said the wildfires raging this summer were due to climate change, creating a record-breaking heat wave, turning forests into powder kegs.
But at the same time, the government had to turn to coal-fired power plants again to keep the electricity humming during the heatwave and the loss of power due to fires in some places, creating a dilemma.
In an article, POLITICO reported that the problem – propelled by extreme weather conditions – has delayed Greece from trying to both deal with climate change and move away from coal, as the country has no nuclear energy, nor the widespread use of solar energy or other sustainable sources despite a plethora of sunshine.
Earlier this year, record snowfall led to long power outages and the government urged Greeks to save electricity, an added stress which the site said has raised doubts about the government’s ambitious plan to stop using coal-fired power plants.
Current plans are to shut down all existing plants by 2023 and leave only one new plant (currently under construction) operational until 2028 and the government is stepping up wind and solar power, which provide around 25%. of electricity, a target of 95% by 2050..
But the rapid shutdown of coal-fired power plants increases the risk of power outages, especially in emergencies, some experts have said, a dangerous prospect of climate change that skeptics deny continues to bring wild weather.
Continued phase-out will create capacity problems and “system gaps,” Manousos Manousakis, CEO of ADMIE, Greece’s transmission system operator, told a conference in July .
Manousakis called for a cautious transition “between the lignite era and the green era”, saying it was better to be “safe than sorry”, perpetuating the bitter struggle between environmentalists and coal donors, l industry providing jobs in Greece.
Coal-fired power plants are, however, contributing to climate change that the government has said it wants to stop but needs the power plants that are creating the problem, seemingly unsolvable for now.
NO DIAMONDS IN THE COAL
Coal-fired power plants account for 45% of Greece’s toxic emissions, which must be reduced to meet climate change targets – but the facilities are needed to continue providing electricity.
“It is not an easy task but it is possible,” said Pantelis Capros, professor of energy economics at the National Technical University of Athens and appointed by the government to design a management mechanism for the adequacy of the energy network. “Climate change is happening much faster than expected,” he told POLITICO.
Greece’s lignite consumption fell 49% in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, from 26.6 million tonnes in 2019 to 13.6 million tonnes in 2020, according to Eurostat, a trend across the EU.
Greece’s power company PPC wants to speed up the move away from coal because of plant running costs, but the government has also pledged to maintain and subsidize rising energy costs to appease voters.
“We need to get rid of the coal as quickly as possible,” said Nikos Mantzaris, senior policy analyst and partner of Green Tank, an NGO.
He said that PPC cannot afford the rising carbon costs which “will end up being passed on to Greek consumers and Greek industries, which are already uncompetitive with their EU peers due to taxes and high costs ”, requiring more investment in renewable energies and energy storage units.
In August, the Energy Ministry decided to extend the use of a lignite station in the Peloponnese until September 10, citing “the urgent need to meet emergency energy needs caused by extreme weather conditions. , prolonged heat waves and devastating fires ”.
Energy officials have said no further coal-fired power plants are expected to be shut down until alternative forms of energy – such as two gas-fired units with a capacity of 1,500 MW which should be ready. next year – be available, the report also added.