Demo Cases

To meet the EU’s energy and climate targets for 2030, EU countries need to establish a 10-year integrated national energy and climate plan (NECP) for the period from 2021 to 2030. The national plans outline how the EU countries intend to address energy efficiency, renewables, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, interconnections, research and innovation.

In order to use the resources of the Just Transition Fund, it is required that the Member States present detailed Territorial Just Transition Plans for each region in transition. These plans must address the areas that are most affected, both economically and socially, by the transition to climate neutrality, be compatible with the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) and be linked to the elimination of greenhouse gas intensive activities, such as the retirement of lignite and coal units.

Taking into consideration the above context, SITRANS builds upon the following specific states of transition per partner’s countries:


The Stara Zagora region is often referred to as the energy heart of Bulgaria and for decades comes second to the capital of Sofia in terms of GDP. This is mainly thanks to the Energy Complex Marista East consisting of a state-owned mining company, a state-owned thermal power plant and two private power plants. The complex employs directly around 12,500 employees. When taking into account the multiplication factor – related businesses, services, and households, the number of people affected by the just transition is said to come to around 100,000 people. In addition, the region is dominated by the energy sector – creating additional challenges to ensure economic diversification and social mitigation in the shift to a low carbon economy. This shift will require a bottom-up approach, public awareness, stakeholder involvement, solid analyses and know-how. It will also require coal regions to share their experiences with each other. Only then will a just and timely transition be possible with the public. And this is where the SITRANS project will be decisive in its support to the region.

12.500 employees in coal economy

Coal phase out completed by 2038


In Sardinia, there are three coal and fuel oil power plants (“hotbeds”), which are essential for the stability of the national grid, each with a size of about 600MW, where about 1000 people are employed. Each plant consumes about 1.5 million tons of coal per year, but in Italy, the phase-out of coal is expected in 2025 and the Sardinia Region is evaluating various conversion plans. The northern Sardinia plant should convert to methane and/or plant biomass; that of southern Sardinia, should develop renewable energy (wind, photovoltaic and wave). Conversion to biomass could significantly produce a reduction in employment, while an activity oriented to the production and recovery of biomass in the area could lead to more jobs in the sector, as well as to greater inclusion in productive activities of young people and qualified personnel. At the same time, the requalification with alternative energy sources requires the requalification of the operators and, above all, the creation of forms of energy storage to avoid energy blackouts.

4.5 million tons of coal a year

Conversion to methane by 2025


Greece is included as one of the EU forerunners which have already decided to break away from lignite. At the same time, Greece is becoming the first lignite-producing country in the EU to phase out by 2030 (Green Tank, 2020). In November 2019, the revised National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) was approved, which presented a roadmap with even more ambitious goals and milestones by 2030 compared to the previous plan. The new NECP includes the government’s commitment to phase out lignite and coal faster and faster. The challenge of a post-lignite transition has long preoccupied the local community due to the one-dimensional economic model and environmental concerns. However, it has been at the centre of study and policymaking interest since 2015. The greatest challenge for Western Macedonia in 2023 is to move away from lignite quickly enough.

In 2015 first studies on energy transition models

In 2028 total independence from lignite


The Silesian Voivodeship, in southern Poland is one of the smallest (3.8% of Poland) but the most densely populated (12% of the population) in the country, where over 77% of the region’s population live in towns and cities. Silesia exemplifies a region whose economy has been based on coal industry for centuries. There are still about 70,000 miners and coal is also widely used for heating households. It is also the most industrial region in the country, with almost 12.4% of the Polish GDP generated there, putting it in a second position within the country. Even though most of the Polish coal is mined in Silesia, the role of mining has been diminishing there. However, 74,500 workers are still employed in the hard coal mining industry. The planned mine closures in Silesia will shake up its socio-economic landscape.

70,000 miners and coal

wide raging social economic changes