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Turów power plant is the third largest heating power plant in Poland, and is located in Bogatynia in the Lower Silesia region, bordering Germany and the Czech Republic. Its generating capacity is 1,694.8 MW.
The plant currently consists of seven lignite-fired generation units. From 2014, six units will remain operational.
According to a WWF report from 2007, Turów power plant is the biggest greenhouse gas producer in Poland, and 8th in Europe.
In March 2014, the tender to built Turow was won by Hitachi Power Europe and MHPS Europe, acting as the consortium leader with a 55.38% stake, and Budimex and Tecnicas Reunidas each holding 22.31% stakes.
Construction of the Turów plant began in 1962 and was completed in 1971. PGE undertook a $1.6 billion modernization of the plant in the early 1990s. In October 2010, the utility shut down Unit 8 (which was the least modernized) and subsequently repowered Units 5 and 6 to co-incinerate forest and agricultural biomass. PGE also launched a program that will allow co-firing of biomass in boilers of the plant's remaining power units, 1, 2, 3, and 4.
The first tender for the investment in replacing units 8, 9 and 10 has been cancelled due to prices exceeding investor's expectations at 2.5 billion PLN gross (EUR 600 million). Among the tenderers, the lowest price has been offered by Alstom which valued its services at 4.72 billion PLN gross. In June 2013 PGE announced a new tender for the investment.
Another impediment was the cancellation of the environmental permit for the investment, in August 2012. New environmental permit was granted in October 2013. Previously, in July 2012, a coal dust explosion at Turów power plant injured four workers and set off a fire at three of the plant's eight units which required a team of more than 100 firefighters to extinguish.
In June 2013 Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), the state-owned company that owns the plant, announced a tender for the construction of a new unit at Turów power plant. The deadline for submitting offers has been set for 15th October 2013. The best offer would be chosen by price (85%) and technical indicators (15%). Investment realisation is supposed to take 56 months from the date when work begins.
PGE was supposed to choose the contractor by the end of February 2014. However it only did so in March.
The new block is expected to replace the three oldest energy blocks, 8,9 and 10, which are being decommissioned. Completion of the construction and commission of the new unit has been scheduled for 2018.
What must happen
Private banks must not finance this dodgy deal in any way.
One of the main problems encountered by those living in the area of the plant is the bad air quality of lower Silesia region. On 21st November 2011, the European Commission sued Poland in the European Court of Justice for lack of progress in its implementation of the Ambient Air Quality and Cleaner Air for Europe (CAFE) Directive (2008/50/EC), which should have been implemented in Poland by the 11th of June 2010. The directive requires in particular that the PM10 (larger dust particles) level does not exceed 50 miligrams/m³ more than 35 times a year. However this PM10 level is breached with much higher frequency in many Polish metropolitan areas. Protests over poor air quality have already led to changes in regional legislation in the Malopolskie Voivoship (province) and its capital, Krakow.
The local health impacts from coal mining, transportation and combustion are also a significant concern, and communities living in proximity to these activities are experiencing adverse social impacts, such as loss of amenities, displacement, and loss of social capital as well as facing increased risks of respiratory disease, heart disease, and lung cancer.
In addition, burning coal causes health related problems related to coal ash and air pollution. The plant also contributes to the region becoming ‘locked in' to coal-based energy production for the next 40-50 years, making the shift to a renewable energy based society all the more difficult.
Burning coal is one of the most polluting methods of energy production. It causes significant changes to air quality through emissions of toxic substances such as SO2, NOx, small and large dust particles (PM10 and PM2.5) and heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. Coal burning is also the largest single contributor to GHG emissions worldwide and thus has an impact on the climate of the region and the planet. Coal mining and coal combustion also cause serious water shortages and pollution both by modifying ground and subterranean water flows and sewage discharges that affect river and sea flora and fauna. One of the most serious secondary effects of pollution from coal combustion is ocean acidification and acid rains.
Both the Polish constitution and European Union legislation guarantee the right to live in a clean environment, and the quality of the air that citizens breathe every day is part of that right. The local health impacts from coal mining, transportation and combustion are also a significant concern, and communities living in proximity to these activities experience adverse social impacts including displacement and loss of social capital, as well as facing increased risks of respiratory disease, heart disease, and lung cancer.
The Environmental Permitt decision has been taken to the WSA (voivodship level administrative court - second instance) and the outcome of the challenge by the Frank Bold Foundation is expected to be known on June 25th.
Recently an IPPC procedure has also been opened there.
PGE power picks PLN 3.25 bln bid by consortium with Budimex in Turow tender.
The first tender was cancelled, but the procedure for the second tender for the investment is still ongoing, since PGE has not announced the outcome yet. The best price offer was made by chinese Shanghai Electric Group that valued investment to 3,08 billion PLN, while PGE planned to spend utmost 2,83 billion PLN.
In February 2014, the Frank Bold Foundation sued the decision of Self-Govermental Appeals board that mainteained the environmental permit in force.
Premature deaths caused by Turow
The Greenpeace study "Silent Killers" estimates that 5,900 Life Years have been lost due to the pollution caused by Turow.