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In December 2016, the Minister of Energy in the PiS government, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, announced that half of the project costs would be provided by an investor from outside the company. By whom? It is not known yet. According to these declarations, the investment will not start until the company's management obtains a guarantee of a stable revenue base. This is to be assured by the new government act on the capacity market.

The relevant project was submitted to the Poland’s Sejm (the Diet) on 6 July 2017 (print no. 1722). Although the justification indicates that the purpose of the act is to ‘prevent shortage of productive capacity’, there is no doubt that it is an illegal State aid for supporting coal energy – the energy from which the world wants to step away. The project is controversial not only because of its non-compliance with EU law. It is also a blow to the pockets of the Polish citizens. The costs of the new mechanism range from PLN 5.5 to 6.4 billion per year. We will all bear them for at least 15 years in electricity bills.

Let us remind you that the project for the construction of the Ostrołęka C power plant is not new and has already been frozen once due to lack of resources and huge investment risk. The Energa Group withdrew from the construction of the new power plant unit in October 2014, despite having spent millions of PLN, obtaining all permits, including the building permit, cutting down a forest, pulling up the plot at ul. Turski's infrastructure, including roads, water supply and lighting. As you can see, the Capacity Market Act would allow a mystical revival of the project – like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. There are no real reasons for such optimism, though.

At the end of December 2016, the European Commission published the legislative package ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’ (the so-called winter package), containing draft of 8 EU legal acts in the field of energy. One of them is the draft regulation on the internal electricity market. The EU draft regulation contains, in particular, provisions regarding capacity mechanisms, such as the capacity market proposed in the Act.

As announced by Commissioner for Climate Action Miguel Arias Canete:

We will not support fossil fuels either directly or indirectly. Capacity mechanisms will not be used to provide subsidies to environmentally harmful fossil fuels through the back door.

The regulation introduces high environmental standards for new power plants that would benefit from support under the generation capacity mechanism. The proposed CO2 emission limit is PLN 550 per kWh. The Ostrołęka C power plant will never meet this standard.

Despite the investor's assurances that the general contractor of the investment is to be selected by the end of 2017, it is clear that the investment will not be established until the Polish law regulating the capacity market gets ‘green light’ from the EC. The last one is very doubtful

– says Radosław Ślusarczyk from Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot.

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