Electricity

Share of coal power in Greece tumbles to zero

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Photo: Western Balkans Investment Framework / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.en

Published

May 20, 2024

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Published:

May 20, 2024

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Greece went seven days without coal power in the system, as natural gas plants and renewables were far more competitive and amid high emissions costs. Lignite had a mere 2% share in April.

Coal power is being squeezed out of the market in several countries in Southeastern Europe. Just a few years ago, governments were hesitating to set ambitious coal phaseout dates, concerned about the security of energy supply. The remaining lignite-fired thermal power plants in Greece have been de facto out of the market for seven days, as gas alternated with renewables in the lead, Energypress reported.

The biggest factor is the recent jump in carbon dioxide allowances within the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. At EUR 70 per ton, lignite is largely unprofitable in electricity production. On sunny and windy days, especially on weekends and holidays, when demand is low, the price of imported renewable energy is much lower. Gas has lately been much more competitive than lignite as well.

Uncompetitiveness and the introduction of stricter environmental rules are also jeopardizing such facilities, especially in Bulgaria. As part of its energy market design reform, the European Union will allow member states to provide financial support to essential power plants through so-called capacity mechanisms. But it still translates to high and unpopular budget costs.

In Greece, coal had a mere 2% share in gross final consumption in April.

In addition, the Meliti and Megalopolis units are less available due to the poor quality of the lignite at hand, according to the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO or Admie).

The share of gas plants projected for today was 43.1% against 36.1% for renewable electricity plants, the article adds. Imports accounted for 13.3% and hydropower plants covered 3.7%.

Gas-fired facilities ranged between 30.6% and 55.4% over the past seven days. Renewables had between 25.6% and 36.1%. Imports varied from 10.6% to 25.5% on a daily basis and hydroelectric units had a share of 3.7% to 4.7%.

Greece plans to phase out coal by 2028.

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