In connection with the upcoming local government elections, on 5th of March this year a meeting between politicians form the Law and Justice (PiS) party and the Ostrołęka residents was held.
The Minister of Energy Krzysztof Tchórzewski was the most important guest of the evening. Already in the first words of his speech, the Minister referred to the plans for the Ostrołęka C construction: ‘Ostrołęka faces very serious challenges. /.../ it is going to be the largest investment in eastern Poland in 30 years. /.../ This construction, which will start this year, it is a huge challenge /.../’ The Minister also added that ‘in a few months, at least from the beginning of next year, there should not be a single unemployed person, not only in the city itself, but also in the municipality.’
The Minister also stated: ‘this is going to be one of the most modern TPP unit in Europe. Residential buildings will be able to stand only a few dozen meters away from it because it will have combustion gas filters /.../ purifying it to the extent that it will meet the requirements introduced by the European Union /.../. It will already have to be built to meet all these ecological requirements.’
Ostrołęka C will also be the most expensive and least needed coal-fired power plant in Poland. If we take into account the legal, environmental and economic problems of this investment, there is no doubt that Minister Tchorzewski's statement is groundless. Unfortunately, the Minister's speech delivered to the inhabitants of Ostrołęka was far from reliable.
Here are the facts:
- The Ostrołęka C power plant, despite the use of filters, will pollute the environment, including the air, and negatively affect the health of people. Experts have estimated that, even if the strictest requirements are met, air pollution from Ostrołęka C Power Plant could cause a total of 900 premature deaths, about 280 chronic bronchitis in adults, 1.3 thousand bronchitis among children, 190 000 sick days and almost 50 000 asthma attacks among children. The negative consequences of the operation of the Ostrołęka C power plant will be huge.
- The project does not meet the latest emission standards imposed by the European Union. The integrated permit (a document which sets emission limits for a power plant) was issued in 2011. Meanwhile, in April 2017, new regulations came into force. The BAT conclusions adopted by the European Union tighten levels for sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and dusts in relation to those from 2011 and introduce completely new standards for mercury. The investment’s integrated permit does not reflect current requirements. It is time-consuming to obtain updated integrated permit, which undermines the Minister's declaration that the construction would start this year.
- The investment will be extremely expensive and will never return. The expected project contractor - the consortium of Polimex-Mostostal and Rafako - has estimated the construction of a 1,000 MWe coal-fired power plant in Ostrołęka for 9.591 billion PLN. It is twice as much as the investor had assumed. Energa and Enea planned to spend 4.803 billion on this investment. Meanwhile, experts have no doubt that the construction project of Ostrołęka C is unprofitable. Jan Popczyk, the Professor from the Silesian University of Technology, emphasizes that this project will not bring any benefits to the local community and will cause huge loss of capital. In turn, Wojciech Myślecki, Ph.D, chairman of the Modern Technologies Team at the National Centre for Research and Development and a former member of the supervisory board of Energa Generation, warns that the construction of a new 1,000 MW class unit in Ostrołęka is unprofitable and unjustified for the electricity power system.
"Minister Tchórzewski is not taking into consideration people health or jobs. If he did so, he would have supported the development of RES. Renewable Energy Sources do not poison people and allow employment of over 45% more people, comparing to services in the new power plant unit and mining for its needs. It must be clearly stated that the project of construction of the Ostrołęka C power plant is being pushed only because of political interests, at the expense of our health "- says Radosław Ślusarczyk from Association Workshop for All Beings.