Polska Grupa Energetyczna until recently has publically denied scientific consensus on the climate change and denied responsibility for contributing to climate crisis. Now it announces a shift to green energy. The probability that a new power plant block in Turów will be producing energy out of brown coal until 2044 is getting smaller and smaller. What is more, in a few years, Turów opencast and power plant supposedly will not be owned by PGE anymore.
On 11 September, Marshal's Office of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship gave an integrated permit for a new block in Turów. The block will be treated as a new one , which means that it will have to comply with the dispositions of Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) for new installations. Among them, tightened sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust emission standards for combustion plants.
On the other hand, emissions levels, determined by the Decision on the basis of BAT Conclusions, have been determined in the most lenient way, despite petitions of many entities to determine them in the most ambitious way possible. Now, especially important will be the assessment of the new block’s environmental impact on water level and its impact on the possibility of fulfilling environmental objectives determined in Water Management Plan.
 Installations may be treated as new or existing. For some time, it was feared that the Organ would treat the plant as “existing”, which would mean that it would have to comply with the IED Directive within the scope established for the existing plants.
On 16 of September, during PGE results conference, its President, Wojciech Dąbrowski, announced the foundations of a new strategy, allowing a successful transition of PGE Group towards green energy. It is supposed to be a “point of reference for energy industry in the broad sense”
The PGE Group’s just transition plan is supposed to include Bełchatów and Turów complexes:
– In PGE, we have initiated a project: the plan of just transformation for Bełchatów complex. We are planning to initiate such project for our other coal locations, as well. Sustainable and responsible transition for coal-mining regions, which include the regions related to the energy complexes Bełchatów and Turów, which doesn’t need to imply problems for local labour market. Available research indicate that green investments can fully replace, or even give much more jobs than currently offered by the traditional coal complexes” - Dąbrowski said.
Dąbrowski emphasized the opportunity given by green transition to coal-mining regions, such as Turoszów region: “Energy transition should be perceived as a chance for local community and we as PGE Group treat it with full responsibility.”
During the conference, PGE reported as well that they estimated the financial impact of the delay of the handover for use of the new brow coal energy block in Turów as nearly 40 million PLN, mostly due to the loss of margin. Changes in schedule anticipate delay of the date of handover for use of the block number 7 from 7 October 2020 to 30 April 2021.
Polska Grupa Energetyczna has confirmed that they are planning to transfer their coal assets to National Agency for Energy Security (NABE, Polish abbreviation). Form the company’s point of view, handing over Bełchatów and Turów to a completely new entity is the most desired future prospect.
For energy companies, mines, as part of their assets, are beginning to be a liability. Firstly, they regularly reduce their financial results. Secondly, they hinder sourcing of investment financing on preferential conditions.
NABE may take over coal energy from three companies (PGE, Tauron and Enea), but also currently owned by PGE brown coal mines, including Turów.
A day prior to the PGE results conference, during which the Management Board decided to show its new, greener face, foregoing actions of the company faced criticism of Greenpeace. The protest was a response to company’s absurd affirmatives “denying stance and consensus of science regarding climate change, rejecting the fact that PGE GiEK - the biggest greenhouse gases emitter in Poland - is contributing to climate crisis, and neither do the affirmatives about PGE GiEK saving the environment have any reflection in reality.”
In March 2020, Greenpeace sued PGE GiEK in a climate action. The organization demands that the company immediately stops new coal investments and that by 2030 they achieve zero emissions from the operating coal-fueled plants.
In Czechia it is still loud about the international protest against Turów open-cast. Czech television emitted on Sunday, 20 of September, an 8-minutes documentary with the account of the August event on the tripoint. The programme is usually watched by more that 100 thousand viewers.
The film was titled “Together underwater” (czech: “Společně pro vodu”). It emphasized the negative impact of Turów opencast on the access to drinking water of the Liberec region inhabitants. “Polish brown coal mine Turów directly endangers drinking water supply for the people of the Czech Republic. Mining license was supposed to expire in April this year, but it was one-sidedly prolonged by the Ministry of Climate until 2026.”
On its website, the TV emphasized that the protest was organized together by the citizens of all three countries, who are against the actions of the Polish government regarding the open-cast.
– The problem started the moment that PGE took a decision about building of the new block. Hadn’t there been this decision, there would be no international conflict. Instead, discussions about transition and about new jobs would now be conducted. Loads of money have been invested into a new block and PGE doesn’t want to admit now that the money has been squandered. - commented Kuba Gogolewski from “Development YES - Open Pit Mines NO.”
The whole film can be watched here: https://www.ceskatelevize.cz/porady/1095913550-nedej-se/220562248430024-obcanske-noviny/">https://www.ceskatelevize.cz/porady/1095913550-nedej-se/220562248430024-obcanske-noviny/
PGE and Polish MEPs assure that the presented petition regarding the defense of Turów will soon be processed. “Petition in defense of Turów complex, signed by about 30 thousand supporters of the mine and plant, was presented in the European Parliament in June 2020. In a few weeks the document will be processed by the Petitions Committee PE” - PGE declared.
In the meantime, until now a date for its examination hasn’t been established yet. PETI session, scheduled for 22 September, hasn’t had it in its agenda. The next one will be held in the end of October.