Poland plans to close Europe's most polluting power plant by the end of 2036, a draft document published by local authorities said on Tuesday, after energy group PGE scrapped plans to develop an open-pit coal mine to support it.
The document, which is subject to public consultation, is part of the Lodz region's application for support from the European Union Just Transition Fund, aimed at helping regions bear the cost of shifting to a climate-neutral economy.
PGE abandoned a plan to develop an open-pit lignite coal mine in Zloczew to fuel the Belchatow plant after concluding the project would be loss-making, the document said.
Belchatow, whose operations were expected to be extended beyond the 2030s by output from the mine, will also now be phased out between 2030 and 2036, the document said.
"Scheduling the dates of shutting down the power units of the Belchatow Power Plant... (and) abandoning the plan to exploit the Zloczew deposit are of fundamental importance for planning the future of the Belchatow Complex, its employees and the inhabitants of this region," Chief Executive Wojciech Dabrowski said in a statement.
"They are also symbolic, because the success of this project will largely determine the success of the Polish energy transformation."
PGE's coal assets, including Belchatow and Zloczew, are due to be separated and moved to a state agency within months as part of Poland's plan to free its utilities from coal.
Poland generates most of its electricity from coal, but under rising pressure from the EU and with carbon emission costs surging, it has encouraged more investment in low emission sources.
"Finally, PGE has stopped pulling the wool over people's eyes that it would build the Zloczew mine," said Joanna Flisowska from Greenpeace.