VANISHING BROWN COAL DEPOSITS

Today little more about the second most important fuel in Polish energy mix. Few weeks ago Bartłomiej Derski published report that indicates the forthcoming end of domestic brown coal-based power production. Today, exploration of these deposits is a major factor of welth in some regions (e.g. Kleszczów, the richest commune in Poland) and in next 2-3 decades shuting it down might cause a great economic and social crises in these areas.

Bellow there is timeline of forecasted shuting down of mining operations in certain areas:

Bez tytułu

The first victim of ending deposits of brown coal will be community in Turek, which for many years was fed with promises of inexhaustible reserves. Increase in unemployment and decrease in social services (today basing on local taxes paid by the mine) is what future will bring to the people from the region.

Similar prospect awaits for Konin, where today’s coal deposits will last for not more than 7 years. There are some chances for prolonging the mining and power production operations by opening the new deposits in Ościsłowo and Dęby Szlacheckie, but the local inhabitants are in strong opposition towards setting the mines there. Other possibilities lies in the deposits located in Oczkowice and Poniec-Krobia, but its distance causes neccessity of large investments in transportation infrastructure.

Bełchatów is today the largest coal-based power plant in the world, but energy blocks that are being renovated at the moment will work only until the end of mining operations, so probably only for the next 15 years. After that, only the newest block (858 MW) will be still producing power (if there will be funds for renovation and the CO2 emmissions fees would not make the whole operation unprofitable). Continuation of Bełchatów power plant’s life was recently promised by some politicians, who were pointing at new deposit in Złoczew, but its exploration simply does not pay off for the existing power plant because of the distance (in brown coal-base power production – max. 50 km). On the other hand, building of new power plant next to the Złoczew deposit also might be to expensive, even for PGE (2000 MW power plant – 10 billion PLN, mine – 5 billion PLN).

The best future lies before Turów, where mining operations and therefore the whole power production will last until 2045. Taking into consideration both economical factors and attitudes towards brown coal exploration in local communities, Turów might be the last Polish brown-coal based power production facility. Recent plans of establishing new mines and power plants in Gubin and Legnica will with the highest probability would not come into life. Plans for Gubin are on one hand under strong attacks from Polish and German eco-activists and local communities, on the other – too expensive for PGE at the moment (25 billion PLN). When it comes for the road map for Legnica, it just got an actual road on it; Ministry of Infrastructure and Development decided to build new S3 expressway right in the middle of Legnica’s brown coal deposit.

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