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Scientists: There is no future for the Polish Turów mine and power plant but there is a better plan for the region

Scientists from the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice analyzed the future of the
Turów energy complex (Lower Silesia Voivodeship, Poland). The days of coal-based energy
have already been counted for economic and climatic reasons.

• The Turów mine and power plant have no future for economic, climatic and environmental reasons due to the growing external costs which are 30 times bigger than the model based on prosumer renewable energy sources.

• The region of Zgorzelec, where Turów operates, may opt for an electro-prosumer (civic) model that is beneficial for the inhabitants and for the local government.

• The corporate RES model proposed by local clusters achieves similar effects in terms of reduction of CO2 emission, electro-ecological costs, but does not bring so many benefits to municipalities and their residents in terms of finance and guarantees of future employment.


“The power industry based on the Turów complex does not provide more jobs. The observed decline in employment in the Turów complex also does not contribute to the improvement of the region's financial situation "- write prof. Jan Popczyk and Dr. Krzysztof Bodzek, authors of the expert opinion.

Almost half of the employees of the Turów energy complex will retire in the coming years. This creates a vision of dismissal of employees and problems for the region in maintaining employment at a similar level. The closure of Turów will also be accelerated by economic conditions and external costs: the new 450 MW class unit, commissioned in 2021, is already around 30 times more expensive than the electro-ecological (external) costs for RES on the electro-prosumeric markets.

This means that the region must make a decision about choosing the path of energy transformation as soon as possible. According to scientists, the most profitable model is the electro-prosumer (civic) model. It is 6 times more effective than primary energy and chemical energy in fossil fuels (including nuclear energy) and also provides approximately 3 times higher energy efficiency compared to the markets of fossil energy: electricity, transport and heat.

This model assumes that the electricity consumer is involved in the production, consumption and management of energy. The model is based on a bottom-up balancing of the energy needs of the community with the use of IT.

- Electro-prosumerism guarantees that during the approximately 30 years of transformation we can rely entirely on electricity, also in heat and transport. It will be produced and balanced bottom-up, efficiently and based solely on various renewable energy sources and energy storages - says Radosław Gawlik, president of the EKO-UNIA Ecological Association.

Scientists compared two models of transformation of the Zgorzelec region based on renewable energy sources: electro-prosumerism (civic) and big, corporate RES - proposed by local energy clusters. The electro-ecological cost in electro-prosumerism is comparable to the cost of the corporate model. On the other hand, other aspects, including the "quality" of employment, the risk of stranded costs, the need for network expansion and increase local competences, is definitely in favor of the electro-prosumer model.

For the model of electro-prosumerism in the region of Zgorzelec scientists predict the following mix of technologies: photovoltaics - 40%, wind farms - 25%, biogas power plants - 20%, micro biogas plants - 10%, micro wind instalations - 5%. They also outline the trajectory of their introduction and a real scenario of achieving climate neutrality in the Zgorzelec region in 2040. A similar scenario has already been adopted in the social transformation plan for the Wałbrzych region - a neighboring region in the Lower Silesia Voivodeship.

- The most effective solutions are those that allow to cover local needs in the shortest possible time. It is also crucial to achieve climate neutrality as fast as possible. In the case of the corporate RES model, the implementation of these assumptions is impossible or would require a lot of time and money. The specter of the climate catastrophe reminds us that we do not have that time - explains Radosław Gawlik.

Electro-prosumerism is also to be much more profitable for municipalities. In the case of the RES corporate model, taxes are being paid at the place where the large energy companies are registered. In the case of the electro-prosumer model, the tax system will change - the revenues go to different communes and municipalities that are implementing the civic transformation.

"The estimated coverage of energy needs with electro-prosumerism will allow to take from the fossil fuel market annual funds worth EUR 48 million for the Zgorzelec region and EUR 8.5 million for Bogatynia" - enumerates prof. Popczyk. This means, in addition to environmental and climate benefits, that such a large stream of funds may remain in the region each year after changing the model from fossil fuel (lignite) to electro-prosumerism.



Jan Popczyk (professor since 1987) was the main author of the concept of the market reform of the Polish power industry, after the political changes in 1989. He created and was the first president of the Polish Power Grids (Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne) in the period until 1995, when the Polish power system was connected with the systems of Western Europe. For 20 years he has been working on the energy transformation. He is involved in the creation of startups in this area. In 2006, he created the Intelligent Energy Seminar, and in 2013, the electronic Source Library of Prosumer Energy. Together with his team, he co-creates the concept of a mono electricity market, RES and prosumer energy markets.

Krzysztof Bodzek (PhD Eng.), employee of the Silesian University of Technology, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Department of Power Electronics, Electric Drive and Robotics. His area of main interest is related to power electronics, including wireless power transmission systems, control systems, in particular PLC, as well as programming and modeling. In the area of energy, he creates and verifies balancing algorithms used in the concept of electro-prosumerism to control energy sources and receipts. He is associated with the Intelligent Energy Seminar and the PPTE2050 platform (Universal Energy Transformation Platform).



- Full expertise of prof. Popczyk and Dr. Bodzek (only Polish version):


- Summary of the expertise in non-specialist language (only Polish version):


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Our organizations jointly counteract the expansion of the open-cast Turów lignite mine in Poland for the benefit of local communities, nature and climate. We support civic activities undertaken by the international community at the interface of the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. We strive to make the lignite-dependent Bogatynia enter the path of energy transition as well as economic and social transformation.

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