Canada: To get rid of its Russian gas dependence, Greece will double its production of coal

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Greece will double its production of lignite, an impoverished form of very polluting coal, in order to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and to protect itself. a possible scarcity.

Dans la mine de lignite de South Field, près de la ville de Kozani, dans le nord de la Grèce, en décembre 2018. © supplied by the world in the Lignite mine of South Field, near the city of Kozani, in northern Greece, in December 2018.

"The energy policy of Greece must be flexible, we must keep to The current situation, "said Prime Minister Greek, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, at the inauguration, Wednesday, April 6, in northern Greece, a photovoltaic park of 204 megawatts (MW), one of the most great units of renewable energy sources in Europe. In addition to the deployment of solar panels and wind turbines across the country, it announced that lignite plants, a very polluting coal-impoverished form, will not close by 2023 as originally planned by its government, but in 2028.

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Over the next two years, production will even be doubled. This trend is already in operation: the lignite now accounts for 19.83% of total electricity production, compared to 7% on average just one month, while renewable energies account for 21%.

The increase in lignite production is "a temporary and necessary measure", insists the government spokesperson, Yiannis Economou. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, February 24, Athens, which is 40% dependent on Russian gas and 25% of Russian oil, seeks to diversify its supply and counter rising energy prices. . In a year, in Greece, the price of natural gas increased by 78.5% and that of electricity of 71.4% and, despite the granting of social aids amounting to 1.1 billion d In total revenue, the discontent of the population grows.

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"admission of failure"

As a first step, the government has decided to develop a liquefied natural gas terminal off the city of Alexandroupolis, not far from the Turkish terrestrial border, to revive gas explorations in the sea Ionian and off the Crete, as well as the project of the Eastmed pipeline connecting the offshore natural gas fields off Israel and Cyprus to Greece.

Eastmed, the pipeline project to counter Turkey

but the choice to actively revive lignite production, after decreasing, has aroused many critics. For the main opposition party on the left, Syriza, the government established "a misleading fake energy and climatic plan", making Greece dependent on Russian gas, wanting to reduce the production of lignite without viable alternative plan. For the movement for change (Kinal, left center coalition), it is simply a "admission of failure".

The Conservative government has committed to about 30% of the electricity currently produced through renewable energies at 67% by 2030, and to break down by 2028 of the production of production. electricity by the combustion of lignite. Of the 31 billion euros awarded to Greece as part of the European Plan of Recovery after the COVID-19 crisis, some 38% must be devoted to the fight against global warming by government.

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Priority to renewables

"It was necessary that there was a war that moved the price of the gas so that lignite becomes temporarily cheaper," said the Prime Minister. But "in no case" these changes affect Greece's objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 205% and reaching climate neutrality by 2050, A-T- he adds.

Sandy Fameliari, responsible for climate change issues for the Greenpeace NGO in Greece, doubt: "It's a big step back that is not understandable, even if the government is currently trying to extinguish the fire Because gas prices have exploded. "The cost of energy from renewable energies remains the lowest and most stable. The choice of lignite at the time of the climate emergency is not justifiable and it is not what the Greeks want, "continues the researcher. According to a survey conducted by the NGO from 1,241 Greeks, 60% think that, in the face of the current energy crisis, the government must give priority to the development of renewable energies.

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