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Poland, Greece reject Eurelectric's no new coal plant after 2020 plan

Brussels (Platts)--5 Apr 2017 922 am EDT/1322 GMT


Poland and Greece's power sector associations have not signed up to Eurelectric members' commitment not to build new coal power plants after 2020, the European power sector association said Wednesday.

"Greece and Poland...were not ready to back this statement at this point in time," Eurelectric secretary general Kristian Ruby told reporters in Brussels as he presented the statement of intent.

"Our Polish member association said that lignite and coal remains a strategic domestic resource for them," he said.

Eurelectric represents 3,500 companies across the European power sector, excluding transmission system operators, with an aggregate turnover of Eur200 billion ($213 billion).

All Eurelectric's other member associations agreed with the statement saying the power sector "does not intend to invest in new-build coal-fired power plants after 2020."

Poland and Greece are the only two EU countries where newbuild coal after 2020 seems likely, given existing plans.

Polish plans include Energa and Enea's 1 GW Ostroleka C coal-fired plant at Mazowieckie, due online in 2023, and PGE's proposed 3 GW lignite plant at Gubin, Lubuskie, to come online in 2030.

Meanwhile Polish developer Kompania Weglowa has suspended its plans to bring a 1 GW coal-fired plant at Czeczott Wola, Slaskie online by the end of 2020.

Greece's PPC has started building the 660 MW Ptolemaida V lignite combined heat and power plant at Kozani, due online in 2020.

PPC also wants to build a 350-450 MW lignite plant at Meliti, Florina, to come online in 2021.

The only other potential post-2020 coal project is in Croatia, where HEP had planned to bring the Plomin C 500 MW plant at Istria online by late 2019, but there has been no progress on this since 2015.

ALL COMMITTED TO 2050 CARBON NEUTRALITY

Polish and Greek member associations did support the rest of Eurelectric's statement, however, including renewing the sector's commitment to deliver carbon-neutral power by 2050.

"Our Polish member association is fully committed to being carbon neutral by 2050 -- it wants a broad set of tools to achieve this," Ruby said. "Also 2050 is 33 years away -- a lot of new low-carbon solutions could emerge before then," he said.

Ruby said Eurelectric was still against the European Commission's proposals to set a 550g CO2/kWh limit for new power plants eligible to take part in national capacity remuneration mechanisms.

The proposal is part of the EU's draft package of clean energy legislation that is likely to be approved and adopted around late 2018 or early 2019.

The limit, if included in the final legislation, would effectively bar coal-fired power plants from such mechanisms where a final investment decision is taken after the new rules become binding.

The limit would be less relevant now for the Eurelectric members which have committed not to invest in new coal after 2020.

"We still have a principled reservation against using command and control methods [like the limit] in the European power market," Ruby said.

"Our position is that emissions should be handled by the EU Emissions Trading System," he said.

The EC also proposed that existing power plants which exceed the limit would only be allowed to take part in capacity mechanisms for five years after the rules become binding.

The limit is most relevant for Poland, as it depends heavily on coal-fired power plants and is planning a national capacity mechanism.

--Siobhan Hall, siobhan.hall@spglobal.com --Edited by James Leech, james.leech@spglobal.com




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