Czeczott coal power plant, Silesia, Poland

In 2013 Kompania Węglowa signed an agreement with Mitsui to build a 1000 MW coal power plant in Wola, Silesia. Environmental and health NGOs and local citizens successfully opposed the project.


Description

In 2015 it was reported that the Czeczott hard-coal-fired power plant would be built with up to 1000 MW capacity in the Slaskie Voivodship (Silesia), one of the EU’s most polluted areas. Investors would be the state-owned Kompania Weglowa, the largest hard coal-mining company in the EU (10% of equity) and Japanese investor Mitsui & Co. Ltd (90% of equity). Cost estimates were EUR 1.5 billion in total. The  Polish coal-mining giant was trying to secure sales of its hard coal. By consuming 3 million tonnes of Kompania Weglowa’s coal per year, the Czeczott power plant would be a lifeline for the state-owned company. However, the investor had failed to perform a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment. As a result, the project was discarded. The environmental report did not properly assess the impact of in one of the EU’s most polluted regions.   According to estimates by the European Commission, 45 000 Poles die prematurely each year due to air pollution.  One of the main reasons which lie behind this dramatic situation is the dependence of the Polish energy sector on coal. The planned investment lies almost on the border of two most polluted and at the same time most densely populated Polish regions: Slaskie (Silesia) and Malopolskie.  Kompania Weglowa hoped to finish construction by 2021. (1) 

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Basic Data
NameCzeczott coal power plant, Silesia, Poland
CountryPoland
ProvincePszczyna county, Slaskie Voivodship (Silesia)
SiteWola, Gmina Miedźna
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Czeczott coal power plant would have capacity of 900-1,000 MW. Between 2.5 and 3.5 million tonnes of coal per year is planned to be burnt. Located in Wola village in Silesia (Slaskie Voivodship), on the area of a former coal mine. The project, worth 1.5 billion euro ($1.94 billion), was planned by Kompania Weglowa S.A., the largest coal mining company in Poland and the EU. The power plant was due to be completed by 2019. In July 2014, KW signed a deal with Japanese company Mitsui on joint development of the project. The agreement provided for three phases. In the first phase, by the first quarter of 2015, the parties will negotiate the long-term contract for coal at 3 million tonnes per year, negotiate the purchase price for electricity, negotiate the turnkey construction contract with Mitsubishi Hitachi System, and negotiate conditions for obtaining financing. In the second phase, by the end of 2015, the parties will sign contracts to establish the special purpose vehicle. In the third phase construction would begin in 2016. The agreement was signed by the Ministry of Economy. In September 2014 the Municipal Council of Goczalkowice, Spa adopted a resolution calling for the phasing out of the coal plant investment. In October 2014 the local court revoked the environmental permit for the plant, drawing upon comments from NGOs on the health impacts of air pollution. As of March 2015, the project was put on hold.

The letter of intent between Kompania Weglowa (KW) and Mitsui regarding construction of Czeczott expired on the 31st of March 2016. A decision has not been made yet whether the new Kompania Weglowa (Polska Grupa Gornicza – PGG), which is meant to be created in mid-2016, will take over and forward the project. In July 2014, 17 environmental and health NGOs signed a joint letter to Mitsui urging the company to reconsider its involvement in the Czeczott project. (2)
Level of Investment (in USD)1,940,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date2013
End Date2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesKompania Weglowa S.A. from Poland - Power plant owner
RWE Polska S.A. (RWE) from Poland - Power plant owner
Sepco Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO) from China - Potential investor
Samsung C & T Corporation from Republic of Korea - Potential investor
Mitsui & Co., Ltd from Japan - Investor
Polska Grupa Gornicza (PGG) from Poland - Power plant owner
Relevant government actorsThe Polish Ministry of Economy
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCEE Bankwatch Network; ClientEarth Poland; Climate Alliance Germany; Eko-Unia; Frank Bold; Fundacja Greenmind; Greenpeace Polska; Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL); Kiko Network; Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot; SEE Change Net Foundation; Towarzystwo dla Natury i Czlowieka; Towarzystwo na rzecz Ziemi - TNZ (Society for the Earth) http://www.tnz.most.org.pl/en/; Urgewald; WWF Polska; Polish Green Network.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Calculations of "externalities" (economic valuation) used as argumen, amont others (mainly health issues).
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Air pollution, Global warming, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
OtherCoal dust and other pollutants
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
OtherMuch concern about health impacts (respiratory diseases, PM10 particles, coal dust)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherExcessive concentration of polluting industry in Southern Poland
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of AlternativesEJOs demanded cancellation of the project and reconsidering of plans of increasing capacities of energy production from coal.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.After 2015, the many complaints about health risks, the too heavy concentration of coal industries in Southern Poland, the complaints from many EJOs (particularly on issues of health), the impacts on climate change, apparently led to definitive withdrawal of the project. The project is omitted from "Program for Silesia" presented by the Polish prime minister in December 2017. The document is a part of the government Strategy for Responsible Development (3).
Sources and Materials
Links

(1) 22 Jan. 2017. Marek Jozefiak, energy expert at Polish Green Network. Bankwatch. UPDATE 7: Juncker on the investment offensive … against Europeans, the economy and the environment
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(2) Czeczott power station. This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy
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Czeczott coal power plant Poland (Bankwatch - description of project and situation as of 2013).
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(3) Online newspaper article in Polish: Projekt Elektrowni Czeczott trafił do kosza? (Project Czeczott Power Plant went to the trash?) 12 of January 2018
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Various online newspaper article in Polish on Czeczott power plan project development (wnp.pl Portal)
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Article in Polish: Kolejne kłopoty Kompanii Węglowej (Further troubles of Kompania Węglowa) on growing opposition to the Czeczott power plant, Forbes from 9 of Jun 2014
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Polska energetyka zaciąga dług za granicą, ale nie na węgiel (The Polish energy industry incurs debt abroad, but not for coal) Swiatoze, 21 of August 2017 Article on foreign companies and investments in power production in Poland but "excluding coal projects"
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Media Links

HEAL, 9 April 2015. Poland: future Czeczott coal plant on hold. Following the overturn of an environmental permit to build the new coal power plant, the Polish investor has now put the project on hold. HEAL together with local citizens and other groups have repeatedly raised concerns about this new coal plant and provided evidence on possible health impacts.
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Other Documents

Look at Czeczott power plant (source Banktrack, https://www.banktrack.org/project/czeczott_coal_power_plant)
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Czeczott power plant future design The sign reads “Coal in Europe” and “Visualization of planned power plant”
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“Towarzystwa na rzecz Ziemi” campaigning against PP Czeczott in the town of Oświęcim During their activity in the town of Oświęcim, representatives of “Towarzystwa na rzecz Ziemi” showed some alternatives to a coal burning power production

(source Gazetakrakowska October 14, 2014, http://www.gazetakrakowska.pl/artykul/3607833,oswiecim-nie-chca-wielkiej-elektrowni-w-sasiedztwie,id,t.html)
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Last update13/03/2018
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