Poland’s largest utility PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA plans to develop solar and onshore wind capacity, as well as an incineration plant, on the site of its 4.93-GW lignite-fired Bełchatów plant, as the company seeks to meet its goal of becoming a zero-emission entity by 2050, Deputy CEO Ryszard Wasiłek said Nov. 3.
Poland had proposed the Bełchatów region to the EU as one that should benefit from the bloc’s funds as it transitions away from coal-fired generation, Wasiłek said.
“Without waiting for this decision, we have recently launched a project related to Bełchatów. There are three topics in the program. We’re identifying the possibility of about 460 MW of [solar] that can be built in Bełchatów. There is a lot of land that can be used for the construction of [solar] installations. We are also thinking of building an incineration plant in Bełchatów,” he said.
“This is an additional several dozen megawatts of electricity and heat capacity. We think that between 30 MW to 50 MW of new onshore wind capacity can be built in Bełchatów and Góry Kamieńsk,” he added.
Last month, PGE announced a strategy to have 50% of its generation from renewables sources by 2030, up from just 4.4% in the first half of this year. Bełchatów’s lignite feedstock will be exhausted during the next 10 years unless the company decides to exploit new reserves some 60 km away in Złoczew, which management regards as unprofitable given EU climate policy.
PGE plans to spin off its conventional assets to a separate state-owned company next year to enable it to access financing for large offshore wind and PV projects. If Poland’s other two state-controlled utilities, Enea SA and TAURON Polska Energia SA, also spin off their conventional assets, PGE favors a merger of the three companies.