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The Bełchatów region to end lignite mining by 2038

The Marshall of Poland’s Łódzkie Voivodship has published a Territorial Just Transition Plan, which contains the dates for turning off energy generation units at the Bełchatów plant and an end date for lignite mining in the Bełchatów region, a mandatory requirement in the process of seeking EU funding for the region.

“We very much want the Łódzkie Voivodship to be able to access EU funding for just transition. Setting the dates for shutting down the energy units at the plant in Bełchatów and ending extraction at the lignite deposits Bełchatów and Szczerców and thus also withdrawing from the plan to mine the Złoczew deposit is of fundamental significance from the viewpoint of planning the future of the Bełchatów energy complex, its employees and the region’s residents,” commented Wojciech Dąbrowski, CEO of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna. “They are also symbolic because the success of Polish energy transition will largely depend on the outcome of this project.”

According to data from the Ministry of State Assets, the proposed dates are: 2030 – 1 unit, 2031 – 1 unit, 2032 – 2 units, 2033 – 2 units, 2034 – 3 units, 2035 – 2 units and 2036 – 1 unit.

A plan for ending lignite mining in Bełchatów was also presented – according to the Ministry’s data, extraction at the Bełchatów and Szczerców deposits will finish in 2026 and 2038, respectively. The Territorial Just Transition Plan for Łódzkie Voivodship confirms that mining coal from the Złoczew deposit would be permanently unprofitable, hence PGE is not planning to mine lignite there and the area has been added to the transition area.

“The Bełchatów energy complex today is the largest employer in the transition area within the Łódzkie Voivodship which is why it is so important for us to appropriately plan its future in a way that makes it possible to minimise the negative socio-economic effects of phasing out activities in the mining and energy sector,” said Grzegorz Schreiber, Marshall of the Łódzkie Voivodship. “This will be possible only with the launch of systemic projects and development of real possibilities for the existing and future employees of the Bełchatów energy complex to re-skill and develop new professional competencies, which is what we are working on.”

PGE Group is fully aware of the societal and economic effects of these decisions. This is why the Company has submitted a range of projects to the Territorial Just Transition Plan, including investments in low- and zero-carbon energy sources: wind farm projects with a capacity of nearly 100 megawatts (MW), photovoltaic farms with a capacity of approximately 600 MW, an energy storage system with a capacity of up to 300 MW, establishment of a technological centre for renewables on the basis of the existing support companies, which will be transitioning into renewables projects, along with an expansion of the aggregate and limestone business line. PGE Group will spend nearly 5 billion złoty (1.1 billion euro) on investments in the first stage of transition in the Bełchatów region.

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