Fundamental facts surrounding lignite and the challenges posed by a post-lignite era in Greece are presented in “Coal Atlas: Facts and Figures on a Fossil Fuel” published by Heinrich Böll Stiftung Greece, the Green Political Foundation, whose focus on Greece is titled “Coal in the Greek Energy System – Facts and Challenges.”
As noted in its introduction, lignite essentially represents the only fossil fuel possessed by Greece. The country imports all the natural gas it consumes and 98 percent of petrol, leading to a dependency rate of 62.1 percent in 2013, compared to the EU average of 53.2 percent.
Looking back, Greece’s need to utilize local energy sources and the low cost provided by lignite-fired electricity production drove the country to develop this energy source as the backbone of its electricity production industry in the 50s.
However, over more recent decades, a combination of factors has prompted discussion, even if only subdued, on the country’s transformation in the post-lignite era as a result of EU policies aiming for reductions of CO2 emissions and industrial pollution, the increased sensitivity of citizens on matters concerning the environment and public health, the gradual depletion of energy deposits, the introduction of natural gas to Greece’s energy system, and the drastic reduction of renewable energy source costs, the publication noted.