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Power Unit 7 in Turów. Will there be further shutdowns?

Negotiations between Poland and the Czech Republic are still in progress, however the details are not revealed to the public. In the background of those talks, media are buzzing around shutting down the new unit in the Turów for a month. PGE claims that the shutdown of the unit, whose construction cost PLN 4 billion, was planned. At the same time, more PGE GiEK staff members are leaving in "mysterious circumstances". The company to which Turów belongs does not disclose the reasons for the staff quitting their jobs. 

1. Resuming block operation

On 26 July, PGE said that the new unit at Turów could resume operations: “The unit is ready for operation and can already produce electricity in accordance with the demand reported by the transmission system operator”. PGE still claims that the unit’s outage was “planed”. However, the information accessed by Gazeta Wyborcza suggests otherwise.

“This planned – according to what PGE claims – shutdown began on June 19 and is expected to end on July 23. But still the first shutdown of the unit happened just 15 days after the formal opening. PGE did not say anything about this shutdown in its public statements,” – Wyborcza reports. It also informs about “mysterious” power losses. Since the start-up of the block, it operated with full power only for one day, as it turns out.

“The power loss register shows that only for 24 hours, on June 16, the block managed to reach full capacity (480 megawatts). Also, only once has 470 MW been reached – at 5 p.m. on June 3. From May 14 (when the plant was formally inaugurated) to May 24, the unit only operated for barely 19 hours with a loss of power of less than 100 megawatts. Most of the time, the loss was over 200 megawatts (i.e., the power plant produced less than 280 megawatts of power). All of these losses are described in the system as ‘outage due to measurements’”.

Will PGE provide us with the real data and the reasons for switching off the block? For now, MP Michał Jaros has submitted an interpellation on this issue.

He sent the following questions to Jacek Sasin (Minister of State Assets):

  1. Why was the new power unit in Turów, built for over PLN 4 billion, in Turów shut down after just one month of operation?
  2. What are the reasons of the failure?
  3. How long will it take to repair the unit?
  4. What will be the cost of repairing the unit?
  5. What losses will the company incur due to the unit’s failure?
  6. Does the power purchase agreement include outages?
  7. Does the concluded agreement provide for scheduled power outages?
  8. If yes, for what dates were these scheduled?
  9. In what formal and legal manner was the issue of lack of power resolved during the period from January to May 2021?
  10. How will PGE prevent such situations in the future?
  11. Is the installation covered by the producer’s guarantee?
  12. How long should the unit be operated?
  13. Why was it decided to invest over PLN 4 billion in the construction of the power unit?
  14. What percentage of the country’s energy demand is supplied by the unit that is currently shut down?
  15. What is the impact on power plant operating costs of commissioning of a new power unit?
  16. Could you indicate the daily and monthly costs?
  17. What factors have increased the cost of constructing the unit?
  18. Who, on behalf of PGE, was responsible for the receipt of the unit described after its completion?
  19. Who, on behalf of PGE, conducts technical supervision over the operation of the new power unit?
  20. What are the competences of PGE Turów Management Board in running similar entities?

The minister should respond to the questions within 21 days.

Source: 

  1. https://wroclaw.wyborcza.pl/wroclaw/7,35771,27351794,blok-w-elektrowni-turow-na-pol-gwizdka-po-otwarciu-nigdy-jeszcze.html 

2. Dismissals in PGE GiEK

“The head of the company that owns Turów resigned from the post. He lasted on it … 6 days” – InnPoland reports. The staff quitting their jobs coincides with the scandal surrounding the shutdown of the new unit at Turów. However, PGE denies that these events are related…

Krzysztof Kuśmierowski, the President of PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna which owns among others the Turów power plant and mine, has resigned from his post after 6 days! The decision was announced on 20th July which was a day after Gazeta Wyborcza published an article on the failure of a unit in Turów Power Plant. PGE has not disclosed the circumstances of Kuśmierowski’s resignation.

Kuśmierowski became the president of the PGE GiEK after Supervisory Board of PGE GiEK’s dismissed Wioletta Czemiel-Grzybowska from the position of the company’s president on 30 June. Czemiel-Grzybowska had led PGE GiEK since April 2020. At that time, the company spokeswoman Sandra Apanasionek assured that “situation in Elektrownia Turów was not the reason for the dismissal of the president”.

Two days after Kuśmierowski’s resignation, another head has been dismissed from PGE GiEK. The Supervisory Board of the company dismissed Norbert Grudzień from the Management Board, who had been serving as the President of the company since June 30, when Wioletta Czemiel-Grzybowska was dismissed. From July 14, the president’s seat was occupied for 6 days by Kuśmierowski, who had already been dismissed.

On July 22, the supervisory board re-announced the competition for the president of PGE GiEK. The board will also select PGE GiEk’s vice president for operations and transformation.

Sources:

  1. https://www.money.pl/gospodarka/pge-giek-bez-prezesa-kusmierowski-zrezygnowal-po-6-dniach-6663359475608320a.html 
  2. https://www.zgorzelec.info/news/20512 
  3. https://biznes.wprost.pl/gospodarka/energetyka/10472809/awaria-elektrowni-turow-pge-dementuje-ale-szef-giek-rezygnuje.html 
  4. https://innpoland.pl/170199,nowy-szef-pge-giek-odchodzi-po-6-dnia-spolka-jest-wlascicielem-turowa 

3. Negotiations in progress 

„Polish-Czech talks on the Turów mine will continue during the next round of negotiations scheduled for Thursday, July 29,” the Ministry of Climate and Environment informed.

The previous talks were held on July 22. At that time, Ministry of Climate and Environment reported that “Expert-level meetings were held last week and this week to agree on technical issues regarding groundwater, noise and air quality monitoring in the Turów area. At today's ministerial-level meeting the the expert findings were discussed in terms of introducing appropriate provisions into the draft agreement.”

As we reported earlier, the talks will likely continue until at least the end of the summer.

“It looks like the negotiations will last at least until the end of the summer without the threat of the €5 million a day fines proposed by the Czech government for not stopping production in the mine,” said Radoslaw Gawlik, president of the EKO-UNIA.

Sources:

  1. https://www.stopturow.com/pl1.php?dzial=2&kat=14&art=90 
  2. https://publicystyka.ngo.pl/twarde-negocjacje-opozniaja-odejscie-od-wegla-a-nowy-blok-w-turowie-juz-nie-pracuje 

Photo: Wolkenkratzer, CC BY-SA 4., Via Wikimedia Commons

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