Earlier this week Greek ministers announced a plan to transition the country’s energy industry away from coal. This $5.9bn (€5bn) package includes retraining energy workers in Greece’s most coal-reliant regions and switching off 80% of the state utility’s coal generation capacity by 2023.

In 2015, coal produced 41.6% of the country’s power, but in four years this tumbled to 27.9%. GlobalData analysts have said that by 2030, coal’s generation share will fall below 10%, or vanish entirely.

GlobalData senior power analyst Somik Das said: “This has been one of the nation’s largest investments in recent times, strong enough to leave coal-based generation behind and subsequently bolster renewables.

“The renewable energy sector – including small hydroelectric projects – is expected to get a boost over the decade. Over 2019-2030, 85-90% of total capacity additions will be renewable in nature. Almost 55-60% of this renewable capacity will come from photovoltaic (PV) solar generation.”

The investment package would encourage the creation of more than 8,000 jobs in the western Macedonia and Megalopoli regions. These areas are currently particularly coal-reliant. Because of this, Greek energy minister Kostis Hatzidakis has emphasised that more jobs would be generated by the scheme than would be lost at existing coal-fired plants.

The state-run Public Power Corporation has a strategy to build solar PV parks in Western Macedonia with a generating capacity of 2.3GW. Beyond this, Hellenic Petroleum aims to create a $154m (€130m) solar PV venture in the same region.

Das continued: “Across the country, there are more than 25GW of solar PV and wind ventures either announced, in the permitting phase, or under construction. The growing renewable space is likely to captivate global investments in the sector.

“This stems from planned initiatives such as a reduction in application time for renewable projects, introduction of renewable energy certificates, energy efficiency measures, and planning offshore wind ventures. These bold steps make up the ideal ingredients for the country to leverage the green potential that currently lies largely unexplored.”