Hellenic to set up solar plant in northern Greece

ATHENS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Greece's biggest oil refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, said on Monday it will finance and operate a 204 megawatt solar energy plant in northern Greece to tap into the country's shift from coal to renewables.

Last year Greece announced an ambitious plan to shut down almost all its coal-fired power plants by 2023 and shift more to renewables. Most of its coal-fired plants are based in northern Greece and the government has announced a series of actions, including renewable energy projects and funds to make up for job losses there.

Hellenic, which is 35% state owned, already operates solar and wind energy facilities in Greece. It said it will invest 130 million euros ($141 million) in the plant in Kozani, northern Greece, which will be built by Germany's Juwi. It is expected to start operations in the final quarter of 2021, the company said.

Greece plans to boost renewables to 35% of its energy consumption by 2030 from 19.7% this year, hoping to generate investment worth about 44 billion euros.

Hellenic, with three refineries of a total 344,000 barrels per day capacity, operates 26 megawatt of solar and wind parks in Greece. It wants to add another 300 megawatt of renewables to help in the country's transition to clean energy.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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