NEWS

Court axes power plant plans

In what environmentalists hailed yesterday as an historic ruling, Greece’s highest administrative court has rejected plans for a new power station on Crete, arguing that the plant would produce high levels of carbon dioxide at a time when the country is committed to reining in such gas emissions. The Council of State threw out the environmental impact study for the Public Power Corporation (PPC) plant at Atherinolakkos in eastern Crete, following an appeal by a local environmental group. The oil-fired plant was expected to produce 791,000-924,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year. But the court noted that the Kyoto Treaty on global warming sets Greece a 25 percent ceiling on the increase (over the figures for 1990) of its output of the gas by 2010. When Parliament ratified the treaty in 2002, the government said the increase could reach 35 percent in 2010 and 55 percent in 2020. PPC promised to draft a new environmental impact study. Greece’s branch of the Greenpeace environmental organization was delighted. «This is an historic decision,» spokesman Manos Sofos said yesterday. «Not only does it block the creation of a polluting electricity plant but, above all, it sends a strong message to PPC and other energy players that they can no longer turn a blind eye to the new international state of affairs by provocatively advancing the most pollutant and outdated technology.» Greenpeace urged the government to take action in favor of solar energy systems. Proposals include the obligatory installation of solar panels on all new – or extensively refurbished – buildings, cutting the value-added tax on solar panels from 18 to a maximum 8 percent and subsidizing the purchase of solar units.