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Poland Plans End Date for Coal Power Phase-Out

Poland’s new government signaled on Monday it would be looking to set an end date for using coal for power generation, a senior government official said.

“Only with an end date we can plan and only with an end date industry can plan, people can plan. So yes, absolutely, we will be looking to set an end date,” Urszula Zielinska, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, said in Brussels on Monday, as carried by Reuters.

Zielinska, who was appointed just a few weeks ago in the new Polish government, struck a tone in Brussels today that’s different from the previous government’s position and from all previous positions by Poland, which relies on coal for more than 70% of its electricity supply and has refused so far to set an end date to phase out coal-powered electricity.

Poland has previously agreed with trade unions that it would keep coal mining as an industry until 2049. Many EU countries have planned to phase out coal much earlier.

In setting an end date for coal-fired electricity, Poland will seek to support the affected industries and workers, the new secretary of state for climate said on Monday.

“It's all under revision and with a view to step up the efforts, but also to secure the people who may be most impacted, the industries as well, to make sure that the industries are really smoothly transitioned into new green branches,” Zielinska told reporters in Brussels.

Last year, renewables led by onshore wind generated a record share of Poland’s electricity—26%, but coal continued to dominate the power generating mix, per the German research organization Fraunhofer Society.

Poland’s new government should rethink its approach to coal, Poland-based think tank Forum Energii said in a report last week.

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The strategy should be to set a date for phasing out coal by 2035, determine the role of state companies in the transition, and improve transmission planning, according to Forum Energii.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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