Challenges and Opportunities of Coal Phase-Out in Western Macedonia



As part of the European Green Deal, the EU aims to become climate-neutral and reach
net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In this context, EU member states are required to develop a national strategy to achieve the required emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement and EU climate goals. Western Macedonia is a region in North-western Greece with its economy largely dominated by lignite mining, lignite-fired power plants and district heating systems. In 2019, the Greek Government set the goal of withdrawing all lignite plants by 2028, with most units being withdrawn already by 2023. This decision has had an immense socio-economic impact on the region of Western Macedonia. This research work reflects the current situation at the socio-economic and
socio-political level in Western Macedonia and discusses the policies implemented in the context of the lignite phase-out process to ensure a just transition for households and businesses of the region. Although there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ blueprint for successful low-carbon transitions of high-carbon intensive regional economies, the main target of our paper is understanding the impacts, challenges and opportunities of decarbonizing Western Macedonia.


  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University ofWestern Macedonia

  • Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH)

  • Chemical Process & Energy Resources Institute (CPERI)

  • E3Modelling