Poland opposes EU court ruling to close major lignite mines

Warsaw, Poland — The Polish government opposed an injunction by the European Union’s Supreme Court on Monday ordering the immediate closure of a major lignite mine, officials said it shook the country’s energy system and employed thousands of employees. Said that it would lead to the dismissal of.

Development Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said Poland did not close the lignite mine in Trouth on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic, but instead engaged in “a very intensive diplomatic and legal effort” to disrupt the mine. He said he would secure no operations. A connected power plant that produces about 7% of Poland’s energy.

The EU judicial court ordered Poland to shut down its mines immediately on Friday, draining groundwater from Czech territory and noting Prague’s complaint that Poland recently extended its license without proper prior environmental assessment. .. This is a temporary measure until a full court ruling is issued.

Gowin said the court’s decision was “disproportionate to the scandal” in the situation, leading to “loss of tens of thousands of jobs and a very serious disruption of Poland’s energy system”, reducing electricity for millions of households. He said he thinks.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland would engage in negotiations with Prague and raise new issues in the EU court to articulate the situation in order to avoid a “disaster.”

On November 19, 2019, smoke will be emitted from the chimney of the Turow power plant near the Turow lignite mine near the town of Bogatynia, Poland. (Petr David Josek / AP Photo)

Later on Monday, he met with Czech counterpart Andrej Babiš to discuss Spats’ solutions before the EU summit in Brussels.

Morawicki told Polish reporters that the court’s decision was “very dangerous in terms of potential threats to ecosystems, but also dangerous to Poland’s energy security and the employment of about 5,000 people. “.

He said both the Czech Republic and Germany operate lignite mines and power plants near the Polish border.

Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec said senior Czech and Polish government officials and other officials had already met to discuss the situation in Turow.

“Currently we are presenting our ideas and suggestions on what we want the Polish side to do and what it should offer us,” he said. “We are ready to negotiate. We have been saying that for several years.”

“We have never received a clear written guarantee of how Poland will compensate for the negative impact (mines) on the Czech people,” Brabeck said.

To meet the EU’s ambitious carbon dioxide reduction targets, Poland is phased out its main fuel, black charcoal, but still relies on lignite. Critics say the departure from coal and the introduction of clean energy are too late, given the traditional attention paid to coal mining.

The EU wants at least 32% of renewable energy sources to participate in block power generation in 27 countries by 2030, while Poland’s plan is to participate in about 23% of green energy, and its energy mix We aim to participate in up to 56% of coal in the country.

Government officials say they believe they have been in talks with their close political and economic partners, Prague, over the Turow mine for years and have gained an understanding. Critics and opposition say it isn’t done well, but all of Poland agrees that it is impossible to close mines and power plants.

Polish Berchato Power Plant
On February 23, 2021, steam and smoke rise from the Berchato power plant, taken from the perspective of an open pit mine in Rogowiec, Poland. (Omar Marques / Getty Images)

Last week, another PGE lignite power plant in Berchato suffered an unexpected auto-shut, felt across the European energy grid and scrambled by operators to make up for the lost electricity. On Saturday, the largest power generation unit at the Berchato plant was closed after the coal carried to the unit ignited. Instead, smaller spare units now work.

Eryk Klossowski, head of the Polish PSE power grid, said at a parliamentary energy security group meeting Monday that it was unacceptable for the power grid to lose Turow’s input. He said the plant is connected to a transmission station that is key to the interconnection between the South West region and East Germany.

Pawel Sliwa, Deputy Secretary of the PGE, said in an emergency meeting of the Parliamentary Commission that the closure of the mine would also involve the closure of the power plant it supplies. He estimates the cost is about 13.5 billion zloty ($ 3.6 billion or € 3 billion), the dismissal of thousands of employees, and the loss of investment in modernization of filters and other environmental protection.

Coal accounts for 65% of Poland’s energy sources, including 17% from lignite, while about 25% of the country’s energy comes from renewable energy sources and biofuels. An additional 10 percent comes from gas and other sources.

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