03 June 2020
Energa abandons Ostrołęka C coal power plant construction
WARSAW, 3 June 2020 – Polish Energy company Energa has confirmed that its controversial 1,000 MW Ostrołęka C coal power plant project in Poland will not go ahead, demonstrating once again that no country can resist the accelerating decline of coal power in Europe. Ostrołęka C joins twelve existing coal plants to have been retired or announced to be retired, since the beginning of this year.
Energa’s decision follows an analysis carried out in conjunction with the project’s co-sponsor Enea into the technical, legal and economic feasibility of the project – which confirmed what every observer already knew: it was not viable in any way. The project will now be converted to fossil gas instead, under the instruction of Energa’s new majority shareholder PKN Orlen.
“This is a historic victory for Polish energy experts and the climate movement, and marks the end of coal’s stranglehold over Poland,” said Diana Maciąga, campaign leader for Polish NGO Workshop for All Beings. “The closure of every coal project is a win for our health and climate, but Energa and Orlen switching Ostrołęka C to fossil gas instead of making a real transition to renewable energy is a regrettable mistake that it will have to face sooner rather than later.”
“Even oil company Orlen describes coal assets as persona non grata. It’s a clear sign from the investors and the capital markets that the future of Poland’s electricity mix is one of less and less coal,” said Michał Hetmański, researcher from Warsaw-based think tank Instrat. “Coal is not economic, especially when you factor in its health and climate costs. Fossil fuels cause more harm than good. Poland needs to urgently get on with the just transition to renewable energy, rather than risk being dragged down by its terminal coal industry.”
“The reality that fossil fuels have no future in Europe is one that needs to sink in with Polish energy companies,” said Zala Primc, Europe Beyond Coal campaigner. “While Energa has had to grudgingly accept that coal is finished, PGE is persisting with the delusion that it will still be operating coal plants in 2040-2045. It won’t be. The crashing economics of coal, tightening EU climate regulations, and people’s demands for clean air and water will see to that. Swapping one fossil fuel for another is not the answer.”
Diana Maciąga, Stop Ostrołęka C Campaign Leader, Workshop for All Beings (Polish, English)
[email protected], +48 502 646 890
Michal Hetmanski, Researcher, Instrat (German, English)
[email protected], +48 513 748 019, +49 157 5699 3045
Zala Primc, Campaigner, Europe Beyond Coal (English, Slovene)
[email protected], + 386 (0) 386 40 981 828
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185
- The following European existing coal plants have retired or announced to do so since January 2020: Fynsvaerket, Amager 3 (DK), Bremen (DE), Kilroot, Aberthaw, Fiddler’s Ferry, Drax (UK), Stalowa Wola (PL), Brescia (IT), Värtaverket (SE), Mellach (AT), Compostilla II (ES). In addition, single units of power plants have retired or announced to do so, e.g. Brescia 2 (IT). The new coal project Kosovo C was called off in April.
- Energa and Enea have been unable to secure financing for Ostrołęka C despite winning a capacity market auction, which would have secured payments for fifteen years into the future. ING Bank Śląski, mBank, and Poland’s largest state-owned bank, PKO Bank Polski, have all pledged not to support the project. PKN ORLEN became the majority stakeholder in Energa in April, and confirmed that it would only invest in Ostrołęka C if the project moves away from coal to gas. Enea also lost two legal cases that were put forward by ClientEarth. The court ruled the decision to proceed with the project invalid and demanded the company publish documents that would explain how the plant would be profitable. https://www.clientearth.org/press/climate-victory-companies-put-polands-last-new-coal-plant-on-ice/
- PGE anticipates 2040-2045 coal exit: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/060220-interview-eu-policies-prompt-polands-pge-to-pursue-green-transition
- Open source viability calculator for Ostroleka C, showing the financial losses that would be incurred were the project to proceed as a coal plant http://instrat.pl/ostroleka-kalkulator/
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu