One of Greece’s oldest and most polluting power stations, in the town of Ptolemaida in northern Greece, was shut down yesterday in what Environment Minister Tina Birbili said was a move designed to show the government’s determination to produce cleaner energy. Birbili pressed the button that led to one of the four lignite power plants in Ptolemaida ceasing to produce energy for the first time since it was opened in 1959. A project to build a new power station has already begun and when the plant is completed, by 2015, all the other lignite units in Ptolemaida will be closed. «We are sending a clear message that we are leaving the past behind,» said Birbili. «It is an honor for me to shut down this unit, which polluted the environment, made living conditions difficult and harmed the health of workers and local people.» The plant employees have been given jobs at other power stations.