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Polish response to the Czech request

Poland has sent its response to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the Czech request for a provisional cessation of the Turów mine operations until the conflict has been resolved. Poland is arguing that such an interim measure is “disproportional and won't ensure proper balance of interests”. By 24/04/2021 we may expect a CJEU decision in the case. In the meantime, PGE, which earlier argued that “they weren't a party in the conflict with the Czechs”, published a statement in this issue, full of false information.

  1. PGE isn't telling the truth about Turów

On April, 9th, PGE's press office published a press release called “International Campaign against Polish Mine as Threat to European Green Deal”. The release contains a series of inconsistencies and erroneous data.

Firstly, PGE claims that mine’s closure would lead to the downfall of the entire region. However, from the last available “Territorial Plan of Just Transition for Lower Silesia Voivodeship 2021-2030 - Zgorzelec District” it follows that only 6% of Zgorzelec subregion population is employed within Turów complex and subsidiaries. Actual employment is ever lower. There are 3 500 people employed directly in the mine and power plant, among 89 200 living in the Zgorzelec region.

Secondly, PGE claims that the Turów power plant provides a 7% of electricity consumed in Poland. In the meantime, in 2020, Turów power plant provided a little over 3% of national power. In 2019 − less than 3%.

It’s also worth mentioning that PGE hasn't presented any scenarios for closing the mine nor the power plant in 2026 nor in 2030. The company  is persistently trying to obtain an extraction license until 2044. In the meantime, The State Energy System may function without any problem after 2026. What is more, according to the authors of the report “Achieving the goal. Coal phase-out in the Polish power sector.” prolonging of lignite mining in Turów after 2026 is highly unlikely.” 

More at:

  1. https://instrat.pl/odejscie-od-wegla/
  2. https://www.gkpge.pl/Biuro-Prasowe/komunikaty-prasowe/korporacyjne/miedzynarodowa-kampania-przeciwko-polskiej-kopalni-zagrozeniem-dla-europejskiego-zielonego-ladu 

2. Poland responds

PGE release was published after the Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment informed that the response to the Czech request regarding the interim measures was relayed to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Poland has decided that “such an interim measure is disproportional and won't ensure proper balance of interests. − Its application would expose the Republic of Poland and its citizens to serious and irreparable damages. Cessation of mining activities in the Turów mine until a judgment closing the main proceedings has been delivered, would have severe economic, social and environmental effects on the Republic of Poland, including those pertaining to energy security in the country” − the Polish side argues [1].

The issue presented by the Polish side was preceded by a joint committee session, with the Committee of Energy, Climate and State Assets, Environment Protection, Natural Resources, Forestry and Foreign Affairs, regarding the Turów mine activity and the Czech lawsuit in CJEU. During the session, Piotr Dziadzio Deputy Minister of Climate and Environment informed that Poland would contest the Czech request. We may expect the CJEU decision in the case next week.

 - Lack of transparency in the actions of Polska Grupa Energetyczna, as well as lack of will to work out the issue with the Czechs, and thus a lack of agreement on the issue of Turów has led us to the current situation, i. e. an open conflict in front of the CJEU with our southern neighbour - said Małgorzata Tracz, the Green Party MP, during the session.

The whole session available at: https://www.sejm.gov.pl/sejm9.nsf/transmisje_arch.xsp#493101A81D955300C12586A2004745F5 

Sources:

  1. https://biznesalert.pl/tsue-polska-europa-czechy-kopalnia-turow-energetyka/ 
  2. https://portalkomunalny.pl/polskie-ministerstwo-chce-odpierac-zarzuty-czechow-w-sprawie-kopalni-turow-417166/

3. PGE’s step to reduce emissions

On March 26, 2021, representatives of PGE, Bogatynia District and Przedsiębiorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej  {Local eating utility] in Bogatynia signed a letter of intent regarding linking Trzciniec, a Bogatynia neighbourhood, to a district heating network. Providing the Trzciniec population with heat producedby PGE GiEK Turów Power Plant is supposed to reduce smog in the city, which is caused by ineffective lignite combustion in household furnaces. A question remains whether the necessity to perform energy renovation of the building stock was taken into account, so that a full potential of the action is used? It would favorably influence the reduction of the harmful pollutantsand reduce the costs of domestic heating.

More at:

  1. https://pgegiek.pl/aktualnosci/elektrownia-turow-pomoze-bogatyni-w-walce-z-niska-emisja- i-smogiem

4. Zgorzelec on its way to climate neutrality

The Martial of Lower Silesia voivodeship, Cezary Przybylski and the President-Minister of The Free State of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer , signed a letter of support for the project “District Heating neutral to climate for the entire European town of Zgorzelec/Görlitz”.

“The project is of great importance to the inhabitants of Zgorzelec and Görlitz. It is a model for the step to the stage of a climate neutrality in Europe in 2050 and makes a valuable contribution to the structural development on the Polish-German border [...] Animated by the European Green Deal as a new EU development strategy, Görlitz and Zgorzelec want to give a good example. The goal of the project is to provide the inhabitants of the partnership town by river Neisse with a district heating that is neutral to climate, at socially acceptable prices, so that CO2 emissions are reduced, thus improving the living standard in the border region between Saxony and Lower Silesia". [1] Until now, Zgorzelec has used a lignite-fired heating plant.

Sources:

  1. https://nagranicy.nastyku.pl/artykul/neutralne-klimatycznie-cieplownictwo-miejskie-dla-calego-europejskiego-miasta-gorlitz-zgorzelec,3480,1,d6889.html

Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons, Attribution: Danuta B. / fotopolska.eu

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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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