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Created before Nov 2016
Last update: 2016-10-12 10:21:19 BankTrack
Campaigner for Association Workshop for All Beings
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About Pólnoc coal power plant
The planned plant is a 2000MW coal-fired greenfield project located in the direct vicinity of the Nature 2000 site (Lower Vistula Valley). Impeded from securing free CO2 emissions allowances by the decision of the EU Commission from the 13 July 2012. There is growing local opposition to the construction in spite of a huge PR effort by the investor - Elektrownia Polnoc Ltd. - an affiliate of Kulczyk Investments Group. The plant is expected to start its operation no sooner than 2018 and its estimated cost is EUR 3.1-3.8 billion.
For technical details of the plant, click here.
Little history is available on the project but some important facets of the project include:
Kulczyk, one of the richest people in Poland, is looking to build the first Polish private energy group through his company, Kulczyk Investments. Polenergia part of the Kulczyk Investment Group has acquired a gas CHP Nowa Sarzyna and recently took over the stock-listed Polish Energy Partners (PEP).
The project itself is in the north of Poland. It is a region with great wind potential and, at the same time, the location chosen for the power plant construction threatens the integrity of a nearby Nature 2000 site. This project will lock the region to coal-powered energy generation thus hampering the developments of the RE energy.
Climate impact assessment is almost non-existent (with the exception of one paragraph saying there is no transboundary impact assessment in a 700 pages EIA). The public consultations process claims to be an open one but environmental NGOs from outside the area are discouraged to participate in the process.
What must happen
Private banks must not finance in any way this project, be it through project finance, corporate loan or underwriting or buying of bonds or shares.
Human rights and social issues
There are various social impacts of this project. They include:
Health related problems related to coal ash and air pollution caused by burning coal. See Coal Kills for details on negative health impacts caused by the construction and exploitation of the Elektrownia Pólnoc power plant
The region will be locked in the old mode of energy production for the next 40-50 years and thus will not be able to shift into the RE-based society.
Water pollution (especially mercury) resulting from sewage dumping from the plant into the Vistula river - passing through some major Polish cities before it reaches the Baltic Sea will lead to long-term health problems. There is serious risk of Poland not fulfilling the obligations of the Water Directive due to high concentration of mercury and other heavy metals in big rivers such as Vistula due to coal-based electricity generation.
The surrounding fields will be affected both by air pollution and a pipeline that is supposed to run for 8,5 km from the construction site to the Vistula River and pass through a number of fertile, agriculture lands. Due to this reason, opposition to the project among local farmers is growing.
Local residents have been denied access to information and to the administrative procedure of granting the building permit. The fertile lands that are under legal protection have been downgraded two categories and it has been pushing the local residents to sign papers that suggested it will be done on their own initiatives. Some of the local residents withdrew from the process later on as they have understood that they have been misled into signing documents they did not understand nor like.
The Elektrownia Pólnoc power plant may emit up to 9,4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Information has been consistently denied to the local community members opposing the power plant construction and a number of not accurate or misleading information has been provided by the investor such as for example claiming that all the legal procedures have ended and that the environmental NGOs don't express any concern about the project's environmental impact.
Burning coal is amongst the highest forms of pollution in energy production. Due to this, there are many environmental concerns attached to this project. Including:
- It causes significant changes to air quality through emissions of GHGs, impacts the climate of the region and the planet, and causes water pollution.
- The planned site is a Nature 2000 site Valley - PLH220033 and PLB040003 sites- and the body of water surrounding it will be affected due to run off and dumping. The Vistula river is becoming a sewage.
- Mercury produced in the process of coal burning has serious effects on water quality. The emissions from the plant affect both the fauna and the flora of the protected area.
- A list of environmental conditions to the investment specified by the Regional Environmental Protection Authority in Gdansk reveals how many elements of the ecosystem may be harmed by the power plant. The report is available here (however it is available only in Polish).
- There are also omissions in the EIA report and the negative effects on the above mentioned Natura 2000 sites are not ruled out. Not all the parts constituting a technological whole of the power plant construction have been taken into account and the melioration necessary to proceed with the investment process has been excluded from the EIA procedure. Impacts of the power plant construction and functioning on the nearby Natura 2000 PLH220031 have been completely omitted.
The investors claims that the power plant will help alleviate the high unemployment in the region while most of the local unemployed are women that have lower chances of benefiting from the project due to the employment and hiring structure of the project.
There have been attempts to bully the local farmers into signing a petition to the Ministry of Environment in which they would ask for lowering the class of their land. Some local residents also claim that they have been misinformed about the content of the conditional land sale agreement prepared by the investor.
Other applicable regulations
- "Clean Energy For Europe: A Reinforced EIB Contribution"
- "Environmental and Social Practices Handbook"
- EIB Statute...
Court blocks Polish coal plant; victory for campaigners
Campaigners have won a court case to block construction of a 1.6GW coal plant in northern Poland. Judges in Gdansk revoked permits for Polnoc power station on Tuesday, ruling that the district authority had not adequately consulted on the project (source Climate Home).
Mr Jan Kulczyk receives Pinocchio
On Friday, May 16th 2014, the first step of the international action of sending letters to Mr Jan Kulczyk - Elektrownia Północ Power Plant main investor - was successfully completed. The petitions in which the international community asked Mr Kulczyk to withdraw from the Elektrownia Północ project and support clean energy solutions instead were handed over to the Chairman of Elektrownia Północ by the Stop Elektrownia Północ campaign coordinators. The signatures poured in to the very last moment. The petitions on stopEP.org and campaigns.350.org were closed with the sum of 8329 signatures. Read more.
Victory for fish at Polnoc power plant
oland's General Director of Environmental Protection (GDOS) has ruled that an investment in the construction of Poland's "North" ("Polnoc")power plant would jeopardize species of fish found in the lower reaches of the Vistula River. The General Director agreed with environmental and nature protection NGOs and affirmed partial invalidity of the plant's environmental impact assessment permit (EIA). Read more.
Petition to Polish government to drop permit
On August 26, 2013, Polish NGOs Client Earth, Workshop for all Beings, Greenpeace, WWF and local community group Eco-Kociewie petitioned the General Director of Environmental Protection to cancel the environmental impact assessment permit for the Polnoc Power Plant in northern Poland. At a whopping 2 gigawatts, the Polnoc plant poses a number of threats to people’s health and the environment, with planned carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal exceeding 10 million tonnes annually.
One year delay in the completion of the North Power Plant announced
According to the information provided by Forsal.pl the completion of the construction of the North Power Plant will be delayed by one year. The first 900 MW coal block will be put into service not in 2017 but in 2018. Read more.
Chief Building Inspector repeals the North Power Plant building permit
On April 15th, 2013 the Chief Building Inspector repealed the decision of the Pomerania Voivodship Governor on the approval of the construction project of the North Power Plant and the building permit for the investment ‘Coal power plant 2000 MW in Rajkowy - associated infrastructure related to water consumption and waste water discharge to the Vistula River'. The case was referred back to the authorities of first instance. Read more.
A new website describing the environmental, health and social consequences of living next to Polnoc Power Plant (if constructed) has been created.
A number of procedures are currently underway. Including:
EIA has been approved and a building permit granted to the investor on the 15th of July and is currently challenged in court by Client Earth Poland and local residents.
Changes to the spatial planning and regional programmes on different administrative levels are already approved and/or running.
Building permit is still pending. PPC permit recently obtained but will be sued as it contains data that is not accurate.
GHG permit has been granted in June 2011 and is also being challenged in court by Client Earth as the power plant does not meet the requirements listed by the EU ETS directive that would allow such a permit to be granted.
IPPC permit obtained in May 2011 is questioned in court by Client Earth Poland as it contains data that is not accurate.
Informal talks on financing with major European Banks - namely both the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank. Also, informal talks took place with Chinese Shanghai Electric Group and EximBank of China on financing of the power plant.
The EIA Report has become available.