Many local citizens oppose the construction of a coal-fired power plant in their vicinity. They realize that this project will irreversibly change the region they know and love, and their very lives. It will open the unpolluted region known for its wildlife, historic monuments and agriculture to heavy industry and all the problems it brings along. Contrary to the investor’s promises, it will a change for worse as it has already happened in many other places in Poland.
This is why the citizens of Kociewie protest and demand sustainable development for their region, they choose clean, renewable energy and protection of the clean environment which is the greatest asset of Pomerania.
Several dozens of people joined the administrative proceedings related to Elektrownia Północ as parties. They demand control over the most important process which will decide the future of their homeland, transparency and access to facts and not the investor’s propaganda. Unfortunately many of the citizens were declined their right to participate in administrative proceedings and the plan to build a coal power plant has not been properly consulted in the region.
The Północ Power Plant was to be the biggest new coal-fired power plant planned in Europe and a flagship project of the Kulczyk Investments group. When the investment process begun in 2009, the construction was seen as inevitable. The construction process was due to start in 2012. As a result of many errors in the project documentation the investor lost several vital documents and permits. Meanwhile changes in energy markets and global efforts to stop climate change made coal unprofitable and caused further delays. In 2014 the investor planned to begin construction of the first unit in 2019. Currently, due to a change in investor’s priorities the date of execution of this project is unknown.
At first, the Północ power plant was to comprise of two energy units, 2000 MWe each, and was the largest new coal-fired power plant planned in Europe. In June 2014 the investor published a new construction project of two 800 MWe units which meant that the capacity was reduced by 400 MWe. The amount of coal to be burnt was reduced from 4,6 to 3,7 million tons a year for both units. Construction of the first block was planned for 2019, the time of construction of the other was unspecified. The new EIA report does not exclude the possibility that the investor will abandon the project.
Local citizens supported by social organisations have revealed manifest errors in the documentation prepared by the investor which include the power plant’s environmental impact and cases of preventing the citizens from participation in the proceedings. As a result the investor has lost most of the permits and the date of construction remains unknown.
Building permit for main facility: annulled, the investor appealed.
Greenhouse gas emission permit: no.
Building permit for water main: no, proceeding suspended.
Building permit for high-voltage lines: no.
Integrated permit: suspended on the request of the investor.
The Chairman of the Board of the Polish Energy Partners, the owner of the Elektrownia Północ project, has confirmed it himself. In an interview (in Polish) he stated that with the current Energy prices the power plant would generate losses, which is why the company was going to sell the project. It is becoming evident that economy and international efforts for climate protection are making coal history.
The suggestion that the project might be rather sold than built first occurred in July 2014 when Polenergia Holding was taken over by the Polish Energy Partners group. Later that year Polenergia announced that it planned to sell this project in 2016, after having obtained all necessary permits. Nobody knows who would buy Elektrownia Północ, though the fact that the company has already sought for financing form the CEE Equity Partners, which main investor is the Chinese Exim Bank, suggests it most probably won’t be a Polish company.
According to the Polish Energy Partners’ investment strategy revealed in 2014, the company’s priority is wind and gas energy. It is planning to build 200 WM of wind power in 2016 and extend other projects by 500 MW. It also invests in gas infrastructure that would join Poland with Ukraine and Germany. Taking it into consideration, the coal power plant could be built only if the Polish government provided it with artificial legal or financial support or in case of increase in energy prices.