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PGE: Time to invest in renewables

PGE has omitted its Gubin lignite mine project from its 2019 financial report, signalling that it has abandoned the project. The controversial proposed mine was intended to fuel a new 3000 MW coal power plant, and its cancellation means that one billion tonnes of lignite will remain in the ground. Gubin is one of a series of losing bets for PGE, and with debts of EUR 2.5 billion to its name, it is clear the company can afford few more.

The report shows a 17 percent fall in power generation from lignite and an 11 percent drop from hard coal compared to 2018. PGE has never posted such stark figures, and the report paints a bleak future for a company that saw costs of EUAs almost double in 2019 (EUR 660 million). PGE is performing poorly compared with other European electric utilities precisely because it has failed to invest heavily in renewables. Currently over 90 percent of its electricity is generated from lignite and hard coal. If PGE doesn’t abandon coal soon, it will have nowhere left to turn.

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Ask PGE to commit to a 2030 coal phase out & invest in renewables

The message is clear: @Grupa_PGE must commit to a 2030 coal phase out & invest in #renewables if it wishes to remain a fiscally viable company & contribute to efforts to tackle the #airpollution & #climatecrisis 👏 #PGE 👏 #beyondCoal 👏 by 2030 👏 bit.ly/2UDHD7M

"The absence of the Gubin coal mine project in PGE’s financials is proof that the company has abandoned the project. Its own financial reporting also shows that the future is similarly bleak for its other controversial Zloczew and Turow lignite mining projects. The only way to break the cycle of decline for European coal businesses like PGE is to get moving on a rapid and just transition to renewable energy."

Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director

"PGE’s financial report and the quiet end of Gubin demonstrate that the political fiction of a viable coal industry in Poland is over. The declining economics of coal doomed Gubin, and should be ringing alarm bells for a company obstinately clinging to fever dreams of further mining expansion at Złoczew and Turów. Last year PGE generated over 50 TWh of electricity burning uneconomic coal, and only 2.29 TWh from renewable sources that expose it to fewer risks, while securing higher profitability. If PGE doesn’t wake up, it will be workers and Polish taxpayers that pay the price of its failures."

Kuba Gogolewski, senior finance campaigner with Fundacja "Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE"