My research thesis project deals with an issue affecting the Eordaia Plateau in Western Macedonia, around the city of Ptolemaida. The area is rich in Lignite Coal deposits that are exploited since the 1950s. The coal is extracted and used as fuel for the Power Plants in the area which produce 75 per cent of the electricity power consumed in Greece. The coal deposits are situated below existing settlements and in order to exploit the deposits the Public Power Corporation (PPC), with the help of the state, is dictating the expropriation of the settlements and the resettlement of the inhabitants.
In the first part of the thesis, the history of the electric power production, and more specifically in Western Macedonia is presented, with an extensive reference to the first mining and excavation activities for power-related purposes in Greece. The next part deals with the wider relocation and resettlement processes and issues discussed in the academic literature and fieldwork as well, introducing the reader to the concepts of Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement (MIDR) and the Development-Induced Displacement and Resettlement (DIDR).
Subsequently in the next chapter, the legal framework and the procedure followed by the PPC in Greece, is presented, beginning from the expropriation process and the public consultation until the construction of the new settlement. In addition three different examples of expropriated settlements are analysed in order to show the differences between the legal framework and the actual implementation of the resettlement procedure. The three examples vary in the size of the settlement, the time of the expropriation and the location of the resettlement.
The final section is the analysis and conclusions of the presented material. The spatial impact of the activities of the Public Power Corporation in the wider area is described with a special emphasis given on the malfunctions and the problems occurred due to false operations throughout the procedure. Taking everything into account, the last two units come up with the feasibility of the newly made settlements and how state policy deals with the issue. The analysis focuses on urban planning issues, while fieldwork data are summarized and analyzed, with main concern at the land planning impact of PPC and the social issues that arise. The excavating activity straightly affects the settlements/villages, leading to relocation of resettlement of their population, while others disappear once and for all.
The Thesis findings conclude that the undergoing activities of the National Power Company under the help of the state, create a whole new geography in the area of Western Macedonia, influencing the spatial stigma of the affected settlements and the two biggest urban ensembles of the area, the cities of Ptolemaida and Kozani. The alternation of the natural environment, as a result of the power generation process through the excavating activities, has the result of changing the economic and productive means of the area.