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With the ambitious National Energy & Climate Plan (NECP) towards a climate-neutral economy by 2050, the Greek government is committed to withdraw all lignite power plants by 2023, with the exception of “Ptolemais V” plant expected to be operational by 2028. This commitment serves priorities related to the environmental protection, to the promotion of competitive electricity generation methods and to the diversification of the lignite-mining areas, namely Western Macedonia (NUTS 2) and Megalopolis (NUTS 3 / LAU 1).

 

These areas face socio-economic and environmental consequences stemming from the multi-annual and unilateral focus on lignite activity - to the detriment other economic activities - but also from the lack of planning of a new, balanced and sustainable development model.

 

It is obvious that these consequences have accumulated due to the gradual and steady reduction in lignite production over the last few years. In this light, the main priority of the Greek government is to ensure the economically and socially just transition of these regions, by minimising the above consequences through the diversification of their production model for the creation of new values in different sectors and branches.

 

In this direction, Greece demonstrates strong political will and makes available additional financial resources. On the top of this, it is the first time that the country develops and adopts a comprehensive strategic plan - the National Just Transition Development Plan (NJTDP) - and prepares amixture of interventions and measures of economic diversification.

It is noted that this Plan is seen in the wider context set by the "Energy Roadmap for 2050" and the "European Green Deal", and has been drawn up pursuant to the NECP and the Act of the Council of Ministers on the establishment, formation and operation of a Government Committee and a Steering one for the JDT.

 

In this framework, a number of studies has been carried out such as: “Current situation and prospects for areas in energy transition in Greece”, “Decarbonisation of production: social-economic impacts and compensatory actions” and “A Road Map for a Managed Transition of Coal-Dependent Regions in Western Macedonia”. The first two studies address the analysis of the economic activity, the social conditions and the energy characteristics of the transition areas. In addition, they explore the possible consequences of their decarbonisation, while they assess the challenges and their development needs and prospects. The third study was carried out by the World Bank in the framework of the project titled: “A Just Transition for All: Preparing for a managed transition of coal-dependent regions in Western Macedonia, Greece”, funded by the European Commission, through the Structural Reform Support Program (SRSP).

 

These studies served as a major source of information both for the NJTDP as well as for the - under preparation - Territorial Just Development Plans (TJDP) for Western Macedonia and the Municipality of Megalopolis ,in accordance with the requirements of the Proposal for a Regulation establishing the Just Transition Fund. At the same time, considering the national planning for the interconnection of the insular electric system with the mainland one and the gradual cessation of the operation of polluting autonomous steam power plants, the Territorial Plan is preparing for the transition of the islands to climate neutrality.

 

In order to have access to funding, the national authorities will indicate the eligible areas for which the resources will be used in accordance with EU rules so that the European Commission can then approve the above Territorial Plans to be submitted under the new NSRF under a single Programme of Just Transition Development with a budget of € 1.6 billion, the drafting of which was has been politically decided, politically with the aim of a better synergy and coordination of actions.

 

The Programme will be supported by the EU Just Transition Mechanism, pillars of which are the Just Transition Fund - a special scheme under the InvestEU Programme - as well as the European Investment Bank's loan facility to the public sector. Moreover, financing from the Recovery and Resilient Fund (RRF) is intended to be allocated for the sanitisation, restoration, rehabilitation and upgrading of the lignite mining zones within those areas, intended to be properly attributed to nature as well as to human uses, according to five growth pillars described in the JTDP: i) Clean energy, ii) Smart agricultural production, iii) Sustainable Tourism, iv) Industry, handicrafts and trade, v) Technology and education. The most essential prerequisite for achieving this being the lignite lands’ repurposing, the Plan will be regularly updated by the Steering Committee, following the planning progress of the JTD Programme.

 

Further information can be found on the website of the Steering Committee: www.sdam.gr, as well as on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sdam.gr. All related questions may be submitted by email to the Technical Secretariat of the Steering Committee using the following address: sdam@sdam.gr.

 

For economic and investment actors planning activities in areas of Western Macedonia and Megalopolis under the JTDP, the Steering Committee has published an open call, without time constraints, for the submission of non-binding investment proposals and development plans. To this end, a Technical Committee for a Just Transition Development Plan (TCJTDP) has been set up as a Steering Committee body, with the object of pre-screening investment proposals and development plans and providing opinions and recommendations. These proposals and plans shall be submitted to the TCJTDP, exclusively to the electronic account: te@sdam.gr with the completion of the template “Proposal Datasheet” and is of a confidential nature. Documents and studies can be attached to each Proposal Datasheet, according to relevant instructions. More information can be found here.  

 

Last but not less important, economic operators and investorscan address themselves to the special Task Force which has been set up within the organization “Enterprise Greece” with the aim of, among other things, welcoming, informing and supporting investors for investment planned in the regions of Western Macedonia and of the Municipality of Megalopolis. For request reception, the following special electronic account  has been created: jtp@eg.gov.gr. At this point, it is noted that “Enterprise Greece” is supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and bears the responsibility for the promotion, the attraction and the support of private investments in Greece, while it promotes the exports of Greek products and services through international marketing actions and events.