Greece and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

Greece is a mid-size producer and consumer of coal, mining 27.3 million tonnes in 2019.[1]

Coal Resources

According to the Ministry of Development’s Energy Outlook of Greece total ‘remaining exploitable deposits’ of lignite in 2008 were 3,020 million tonnes. Apart from a very small amount of private mining, all production is carried out by the mining division of the Public Power Corporation (DEI).[2]

Resource Details

Category Reserve Classification Quantity Units Data Year
BGR Estimate Reserves 2,876[1] million tonnes 2019
BGR Estimate Resources 3,554[1] million tonnes 2019
Geological Survey Reserves 4,500[3] million tonnes 2012
Geological Survey Resources 6,700[3] million tonnes 2012
Commercial Reserves Reserves million tonnes
Commercial Resources Resources million tonnes

Coal Production

Greece is the second largest producer of lignite in the European Union after Germany, and most electricity is produced from lignite,[4] which supplies a third of Greece's energy.[5] The largest domestic coal producer is the government-owned Public Power Corporation (PPC). Most hard coal is imported from Russia.[6]

Western Macedonia is currently a "Coal Region in Transition" under the EU phase out plan.[7]

Coal Consumption

Power Generation

22% of electricity was generated from lignite in 2015.[8] PPC is attempting to sell 40% of its coal-fired capacity by 2019.[9]

Proposed Coal-Fired Power Stations

  • PPC is reported to have decided to invest approximately €1.5 billion[10] in the new lignite-fired unit 5 of Ptolemaida power station, and finance for this is being provided from Germany.

Legal Action

In September 2017 the permitting process was challenged.[12]

Air Pollution

All lignite units that will operate in 2021 (including the not yet completed Ptolemais 5) will have to upgrade to comply with the EU Best Available Techniques manual (LCP BREF), which sets new, stricter emissions limits.[8]


In 2013 the government spent 150 million euros subsidizing coal.[13]

EU coal phase out

Like all EU members, Greece has a legally-binding clean energy target. Greece is aiming for 18 percent of energy consumption to be from renewables by 2020.[14] EU policy makers and electricity companies consider investing in coal not to make any business sense compared to investing in renewable energy in Greece.[10]


The government is tendering for more solar.[14]


The government is tendering for more wind.[14]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 BGR Energy Study 2019 - Data and Developments in German and Global Energy Supplies (23), 200 p, Hannover, Germany
  2. Energy Resources: Coal, World Energy Council, Country Notes, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ananias Tsirambides and Anestis Filippidis, Energy Mineral Resources of Greece,Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering, B1 (2012): 709-719.
  4. Energy Information Administration, "PPC > Company profile > Activity Sectors > Mines", Public Power Corporation, undated, accessed May 2018.
  5. "Why Greece Has Been Slow To Embrace Clean Energy", NPR, 30 July 2017
  6. "Greece - Energy System Overview", IEA, accessed June 2018
  7. "Coal Regions in Transition Platform", European Commission, 4 June 2018
  9. Public Power postpones board meeting on units sale after worker occupation", Reuters, 3 May 2018
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Greece criticised for lacking modern energy plan to ditch coal", EURACTIV, 29 May 2018
  11. "Energy", Enterprise Greece, accessed June 2018
  12. "ClientEarth challenges Greece’s untouchable coal power permits", Client Earth, 14 Sept 2017.
  13. "Cutting Europe’s lifelines to coal: Tracking subsidies in 10 countries", ODI, 2017
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Greece Kicks Off $3.6 Billion Program for Solar, Wind Projects", Bloomberg, 30 April 2018

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