Western Macedonia is one of the thirteen regions of Greece and is situated in the North-West part of the country. It is divided into the regional units of Grevena, Kastoria, Kozani and Florina, and to the North it borders with Albania and F.Y.R.O.M.
The Region of Western Macedonia is a public entity and it was created with the Law 1622/1986. The Law 2503/1997 established the Region as a single decentralized unit of administration of state. The Region contributes in the national planning and in this frame it implements Projects and applies the underpinned policies for economic, social and cultural growth.
The Region of Western Macedonia is the energy core of Greece, producing more of 50% of the country’s electricity production. There is an annual lignite production in mines more than 50 million tons that supply the 6 lignite-fired power plants with installed capacity of 4.4 GWe. The strengths that the exploitation of lignite offered until today to the RWM and the whole country are unquestionable, but at the same serious economic and environmental problems occurred.
The Region has large experience in the implementation of similar actions regarding biomass together with scientific organizations that exist in the area, the University of Western Macedonia, the Technical Education Institute, the Chemical Process & Energy Resources Institute (CERTH/CPERI) and the Bioenergy and Environment Cluster of Western Macedonia (CluBE).
Pilot actions through European Projects took place lately with the co-firing of lignite together with biomass in order to examine the energy yield, the quality of combustion and the content of exhausted gases. The idea was to make broad use of biomass resources as subsequent fuel to the lignite for the reduction of greenhouse emissions and the meet the national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Many relevant projects have recently been completed and some of them are still in operation like, the project BERST (FP7) that aims to explore the bioeconomy potential of EU regions and will provide a toolkit to help the region in its trajectory to bioeconomy development, the ProforBioMed project (Strategic MED Project) that was linked to the promotion of the use of renewable energies by the development of an integrated strategy for the use of the forest biomass as a renewable energy source, the project BIO-EN-AREA (Interreg IVC) for the development of a Biomass Action Plan in the Region, the project BIOCLUS (FP7) for the initiation of a regional biomass cluster among University, CPERI and other key actors in the region. In addition, the project Forest Model (MED) had as an objective the sustainable management of forest resources.