PGE: local communities should be beneficiaries of the Just Transition Mechanism - participants of the Polish-Czech-German debate on the future of mining regions
Defining the challenges facing local governments, the need for cross-border cooperation and creating a new vision for the region and its inhabitants. The above are the main topics of the debate entitled "The shared future of mining regions located close to the border of PL-CZ-DE. Economy, Society, Environment”, which was organised on the 6th of July 2021 in Bogatynia at the initiative of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna.
Green Deal, not a Grim Deal!
The sudden closure of the Turów mine, which the Czech government is calling for, instead of helping to improve the environment, will lead to a collapse in many terms: social, ecological, financial and energy. It will cause a disaster for the entire Polish region, to which the mine provides essential energy – jobs, money to support families and electricity generated at the power plant.
Illegal Actions by Greenpeace
On 17 March, members of the Greenpeace organisation illegally trespassed on the premises of the Turów Complex, causing disruption to the mining plant. At present, the supply of electricity to about 2.3 million Polish households is not at risk. PGE GiEK services are evaluating the financial damage resulting from Greenpeace’s action.
Turów Complex strategic for ensuring energy security of Poland
- The Turów energy complex is responsible for five percent of the country's electricity production and is an important element of the national power system, which plays an important role in ensuring Poland's energy security and a stable electricity supply to millions of households..
- The immediate closure of the Turów Complex would generate losses to the tune of PLN 13.5 billion. These losses would be the result of, among others, the need to lay off several thousand employees and the obligation to pay severance pay and other benefits, the permanent unprofitable result of both the construction of a new power unit in the Turów power plant and the already implemented environmentally-friendly modernisation works of the existing units, as well as the necessity to terminate power supply agreements with their related financial consequences.
- The Turów mine operates on the basis of a legally granted concession issued for 6 years by the Minister of Climate on 20 March 2020 in accordance with Polish law.
- Coal mining at the Turów mine is carried out exclusively in the "Turoszów-Bogatynia" mining area, which was set out in a concession from 1994. In practice, this means that the Turów mine will not expand its mining area beyond the boundaries set out 27 years ago. The actual area of conducted mining activities is less than half of the mining area specified in the 1994 concession.
- The Turów mine has a valid environmental permit, issued in January 2020 by the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection, which obliges the Turów mine to apply measures to minimise its environmental impact. These measures were accepted by the Czech Republic and Germany during extensive cross-border consultations, which resulted in the signing of memoranda of agreement by all parties.
- The closure of the Turów complex without a phased out transformation programme would lead to the collapse of the local labour market and a dramatic rise in unemployment, as well as the bankruptcy of hundreds of local subcontractors.
- An immediate shutdown of mining activities would also result in serious geotechnical and environmental risks that could lead to an environmental disaster.
The mine and power plant follow all legal requirements
- On 20 March 2020, the Climate Minister issued a decision to extend the licence for lignite mining at the Turów mine.
- The mine will carry out mining activities in an area of less than half the size of the area specified in the licence of 27 April 1994.
- The decision of 20 March 2020 allows the complex to continue operations for the next 6 years.
- At the same time, PGE GiEK is working towards obtaining a licence allowing it to ensure the supply of raw material for electricity generation at Turów Power Plant for the next 25 years, that is until the resources have been used up and the operation of the Turów power plant comes to an end.
- Obtaining the next licence will guarantee power supplies to over 3 million households until 2044.