F. Grzegorczyk: Former mining regions in need of additional support

Poland does share in the ambitious goals of EU energy and climate policy but wants to achieve them in its own way. Transition will not be effective and socially acceptable unless built on that premise,said Filip Grzegorczyk, President of company TAURON Polska Energia, at a debate in Strasbourg.

The debate, which had Jerzy Buzek, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, and Anna Coluccii from DG Energy among the participants, concerned the support for coal regions, including Silesia, under the new EU budget.

In the year 2015, there were over 452 thousand persons employed in the European coal and related industries, of which ca 112 thousand in Poland. The coal-affected regions undergoing transition are planned to be supported via the Just Energy Transition Fund. However, the European Parliament’s proposal for creating the fund is not reflected in the bills recently proposed by the Commission.

‘Communities in the mining regions are hard hit by the economic and social costs of the Paris Agreement and climate protection. For this reason, it is necessary to provide additional support, independent of structural funds, cohesion funds and funding within the European Emissions Trading Scheme,’ Grzegorczyk explained.

In the coal-affected regions, the proposed Just Energy Transition Fund is to finance within the EU’s multiannual financial framework after the year 2020: energy modernisation, renewal of mining towns, preparing post-mining areas for new development, training and job creation in the innovation and new technologies sector.

‘The Polish energy industry has come a long way to adjust to EU requirements over the latest years. The transition is still under way and, for it to be efficient, it requires time and adequate funding. Generally, we are in favour of the proposed Just Energy Transition Fund and its objectives, but the money it will dispose of is vastly inappropriate to the appropriately identified scale of challenge. The funding will not be sufficient to reskill workers and to undertake low-emission investments,’ President of the Katowice energy company elaborated.

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