The Polish government has agreed with unions to phase out coal mining in the country. According to the agreement, the last coal mines in Poland are to be closed in 2049. Until then, the government will subsidize coal mining.
The deal will end an underground protest by about 200 miners, which began on Monday. The head of the government delegation said that the agreement defines a model of “fair and just” transformation of the Polish mining and energy industries. Trade union leader Dominik Kolorz from the Solidarity association spoke positively about the agreement, but pointed out that it means “the liquidation of one of the largest industries in Polish history.”
The Polish government announced this month that it intends to accelerate the gradual shift from coal to electricity generation and invest PLN 150 billion (almost CZK 900 billion) in the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plants.
At present, coal accounts for almost 80 percent of electricity production in Poland. According to the latest version of the Ministry of Climate’s energy strategy, coal share should fall to 37 to 56 percent in 2030 and to 11 to 28 percent in 2040. The previous version from last November counted in 2030 with a share of 56 to 60 percent and 2040 with 28 percent.
The Polish coal industry is facing a drop in demand, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis as it has reduced energy consumption. Many miners became infected with coronavirus themselves, which led to the interruption of some mining activities. Also, the cost of using coal is rising due to rising emission allowance prices.