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Life extension of Greek coal plant faces legal challenge

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World Coal,

Environmental organisations have challenged the Greek government’s decision to illegally extend the lifetime of one of its coal-fired power plants.

ClientEarth and The Green Tank have taken the Greek government to Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court to annul the extension of the operating hours of the Amyntaio coal power plant.

The permit extension goes against EU environmental laws and was made despite repeated objections from the European Commission.

Amyntaio’s previous permit allowed it to operate under a ‘limited lifetime derogation’, which lets plants carry on running without meeting strict emissions limits, but for a limited time only.

Under this scheme, Amyntaio was limited to operating 17 500 hours over the period 2016 - 2023. However, by the end of last year, the plant had already exhausted its hours and would have had to power down.

Greece repeatedly asked the European Commission if it could extend the hours to nearly double what had been approved. The Commission consistently objected, as the plant was not eligible for the extension under EU environmental law.

However, the Greek government went ahead and granted the much-coveted extension to Amyntaio at the end of last year.

A hearing is expected in the coming months.

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