Poland opened Europe’s biggest coal-fired power unit December 19, a €1.5-billion, 1,075-megawatt coal-fired generator at its Kozienice plant, less than a year before the country plans to host global diplomats at the 2018 United Nations climate change conference less than 300 kilometres away in Katowice.
“The B11 section is the largest and most modern in Europe,” said Krzysztof Figat, head of production at state energy company Enea. The Kozienice facility as a whole now has capacity of nearly 4,000 MW and consumes three million tons of coal per year, The Economic Times reports.
“The new unit will increase energy security of Poland and the Polish people, which is an economic and political priority for our country,” said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
At a time when other countries across Europe and around the world are shifting to cleaner, safer, more affordable alternatives, coal and lignite still account for about 90% of Poland’s electricity production, and the industry employs about 100,000 people. “Warsaw has recently slowed development of wind power and is still to decide on whether or not to build a first nuclear plant in a country suffering some of the worst air pollution in Europe,” the Times notes.