Nine Member States in the European Union produce lignite, also called ‘brown coal’, for electricity and heat production, Eurostat data show. Germany is the main producer and accounted for about 45% of total EU lignite production in 2018 followed by Poland (16%), Czechia (11%), Greece (10%), Bulgaria (8%) and Romania (6%).

In 2018, 9% of the total gross electricity produced in the EU was based on lignite, the same as the amount of electricity produced from other bituminous coal and more than double the amount from solar photovoltaic.

But Bulgaria is among the most heavily dependent countries on lignite, the most low-calorie and most polluting kind of coal. Czechia derives 43% of its electricity from lignite, Bulgaria (38%), Greece (32%) and Poland – 29%.