State-owned Public Power Corp. decided to offer residents of the two coal-dependent regions in Greece to invest in its energy transition projects. It will reportedly secure yields of up to 7% per year for the people in the areas where lignite-fired thermal power plants would be replaced mostly with solar panels.
Thousands of residents of the Western Macedonia region in the north part of Greece and Megalopolis in the Peloponnese peninsula will get the opportunity to become PPC’s bondholders, the company said. According to an unconfirmed report published by EnergyPress, the state-owned operator of lignite mines and thermal power plants may enable attractive yields of 6% to 7% per year, like other large developers of photovoltaics.
The company said it intends to finance 5% of the 2.5 GW in solar power projects through debt securities that would be offered exclusively to the population of the two areas. The bonds for the two regions will be issued separately, PPC said and revealed 500 MW is planned for Megalopolis. Coal use in Greece may end by 2025.
Some Balkan countries are taking steps to replace coal with other sources. In Serbia, there is still controversy over the future of the fossil fuel in its energy mix.
Residents of coal regions to suffer amid coal phaseout
The utility has tasked its subsidiary PPC Renewables with the installation of the solar power plants that are intended to replace the existing facilities. The firm is also active in the development and operation of projects in other segments of the renewable energy sector.
The European Union aspires to become carbon neutral by 2050, which means coal should be almost entirely abandoned
PPC said it aims to share the future income with residents of the municipalities who for decades lived directly or indirectly from lignite. People in coal-reliant areas across the continent are facing job loss as the European Union aspires to become carbon neutral by 2050, which implies phasing out almost all of its coal use.
Poor people can’t afford to invest, though
However, the company’s move failed to take into account the people who will suffer the most – those that wouldn’t be able to afford to buy bonds for EUR 1,000 apiece that earlier news reports indicated would be issued. It leads to the conclusion that offering residents to become partners in profits could lead to more inequality.
The company earlier said local residents would be able to enjoy returns of as much as 10% per year as partners in the solar endeavors.