- wind farm projects of up to 100 MW,
- PV farms with a capacity of up to 500 MW
- energy storage systems with a capacity of up to 300 MW,
- establishment of a RES technology centre on the basis of today’s conventional energy support companies, which will be re-focused to implementing renewable projects: production, renovation and recycling and recovery of end-of-life raw materials from renewable sources,
- Competence Development Centre – a dedicated program for power plant and mine workers and local residents that creates opportunities for retraining for work in the renewable energy sector,
- „Virtual Power Plant” program – harnessing IT competences.
PGE Group makes sure that energy-sector firms and employees as well as the residents of coal regions are part of the entire transition process and actively participate in it.
The transition of mining and quarrying regions is a complex, difficult and ambitious task therefore comprehensive measures are required to maximise the security of the local community (especially mine and power plant employees and their families, who are directly exposed to the effects of transition in the coal regions), as well as to maintain the economic potential of regions that have been heavily dependent on mine and power plant operations for several decades.
It is also crucial to ensure the energy security of the region and the entire state in the process of gradually reducing coal assets.
The transition projects being implemented by PGE Group in the Łódź and Lower Silesia regions are part of the process of changing Poland’s energy mix towards low- and zero-emission energy.
PGE Group has developed a transition concept for the power generation complexes in Bełchatów and Turów. This assumes further development of renewable energy sources (mainly in the area of photovoltaics and onshore wind farms), as well as ambitious investment projects aimed at stabilisation of generation capacities and strengthening of social, economic and territorial cohesion.
Regardless of the process of separating coal assets – PGE Group will remain active in today’s coal regions, both as an experienced investor in the energy transition process and as an initiator of activities supporting the economic development of these areas.
Bełchatów energy complex
In order to narrow the employment gap in the region, which will result from the gradual reduction in the operation of mines and power plants, PGE is planning a number of projects over the next several years, including both renewable energy development and land reclamation projects, as well as pro-social projects such as the Competence Development Centre already in operation.
PGE Group has prepared a concept for the transition that comprehensively presents a plan for investment projects along with their justification and time-frames. In the case of the Łódź region, where the Bełchatów Energy Complex operates, it presents specific investment projects for the years 2021 – 2043 carried out both by PGE Group and complementary projects implemented outside PGE Group, which in total may create more than 15,000 new jobs in modern sectors of the economy.
Implementing this ambitious plan depends on the involvement of many entities, also at the country-wide level, as it exceeds the capacities of PGE Group alone.
Fig. Just transition – Bełchatów region 2043
In 2022, preparatory work was carried out for investment projects concerning the construction of renewable energy sources. The implementation of these investments is expected to take place between 2025 and 2027. Last year, PGE Ekoserwis also commenced the construction of a Circular Economy Research and Development Centre in Bełchatów, whose task will be to develop and implement solutions aimed at the optimal use of post-industrial waste from the power industry and the recovery of valuable raw materials from decommissioned RES installations.
This year also saw the commencement of work by PGE EC to prepare a multi-variant concept for supplying Bełchatów with heat after the power plant and mine have ceased to operate, taking into account new regulations on the status of an efficient district heating system.
Competence Development Centre in Bełchatów - we support vocational training
An important step in preparing employees associated with the Bełchatów Complex for a fair energy transition was the establishment of the Competence Development Centre of the Łódź Province and PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA in Rogowiec. In September 2022, the centre summarised its first year of activity in vocational training and support for the region’s residents.
The Centre is a place that provides an opportunity for training and qualification development for employees in the energy sector, re-training of employees in the conventional energy sector and residents of the Lodz region interested in changing or gaining new qualifications.
The course covers a wide range of issues concerning renewable energy sources, their resources, acquisition, design and use in the area of solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower, as well as issues concerning renewable energy technologies, the ecological effects of energy conversion, the legal basis for environmental protection and the development of renewable energy in Poland and worldwide.
- Renewable energy equipment and systems technician,
- Automation technician,
- Welding technician,
- IT technician,
- Programming technician.
At the end of the first semester of study, in June 2022, 66 Centre graduates will have passed the examination to obtain professional qualifications in the fields of renewable energy equipment and systems technician, automation technician and programming technician.
The Centre also runs publicly funded projects. These include the project: 'Support for a New Vocational Start’, implemented from European funds and the funds of the Łódzkie Voivodeship.
Just Transition Fund
PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA has since 2020 been undertaking a number of activities to support the Łódź and Lower Silesia regions in their efforts to obtain funding from the EU’s Just Transition Fund, actively participating in work on the creation of:
- Territorial Just Transition Plan for Łódzkie Voivodship,
- Territorial Just Transition Plan for Lower Silesia Voivodship (in reference to the Zgorzelec country area),
- National Just Transition Plan,
- each time postulating that the needs of the Łódzkie and Lower Silesia regions (Zgorzelec sub-region) be taken into account in these documents.
According to the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) of 24 June 2021, the Just Transition Fund is earmarked for mitigating the negative social and socio-economic effects of climate and energy transition in the so-called coal regions. PGE SA has been making intensive and numerous efforts for more than two years to have the Łódź region (where the Bełchatów Energy Complex operates) and the Zgorzelec sub-region (with the Turów Energy Complex) recognised by the European Commission (EC) as „coal regions” within the meaning of the Just Transition Fund, thus gaining access to support from the EU Just Transition Fund (and the Mechanism more broadly).
The funds from the Just Transition Fund could be used, inter alia, for actions relating to the creation of new jobs, employee training facilitating retraining and broadening professional competences of employees formerly employed in the coal sector, reconstruction of the region’s economic potential, diversification and modernisation of the local economy, undertakings facilitating development of renewable energy sources, or even projects supporting reclamation of post-mining and post-mining areas. Since 2020, PGE Group maintains an intensive dialogue with representatives of public and local administration and the European Commission, supporting the Łódź region and the Zgorzelec Poviat in their efforts to gain access to EU resources from the Fund. PGE SA also took part in consultations on successive versions of draft Territorial Just Transition Plans and the National Just Transition Plan.
On 5 December 2022, the European Commission approved five Just Transition Plans for Poland. This means that around EUR 3.85 billion will be available to five Polish regions for transformation under the Just Transition Fund. Funds from the Just Transition Fund will support the climate transformation of mining areas: in Silesia, Małopolska, Wielkopolska, Lower Silesia and Łódzkie.
PGE’s involvement, as well as the information provided to the local and state administrations and to the European Commission, including data and forecasts related to the Bełchatów Power Plant’s operations – were crucial in the consultation process with the EC and determined the European Commission’s positive decision on the Łódź region.
The Łódź region has been allocated EUR 369.5 million from the Just Transition Fund. The funds are intended to support, among others, workers currently employed at the Bełchatów Power Plant, as well as in the mining and related sectors. The EC stresses that, among other things, the training will provide employees with new skills and prepare them for work in new 'green sectors’.
In the case of the Lower Silesia region, the European Commission has ruled that funds from the current edition of the Just Transition Fund can only go to regions where there will be any shutdowns of basic generating units by 2030. Given the timetable planned so far for the closure of Elektrownia Turów – the Zgorzelec sub-region will be able to apply for Just Transition Fund funds in the next edition of this fund.
PGE Group intends to successfully implement further ambitious investment and system projects in the Łódź and Lower Silesian Voivodeships both with and independently of the Just Transition Fund funding. PGE also allows for the possibility of modifying the projects it has developed as part of the Just Transition Fund, depending, among other things, on the course of the competition process within the framework of applying for funds from the Just Transition Fund, so that the financing of these projects is as effective as possible from the perspective of PGE Group and at the same time so that these activities serve the regions and the local community in the best possible way.
The approval of the Territorial Just Transition Plans paves the way for dedicated funding under the other two pillars of the Just Transition Fund: the InvestEU Fair Transformation Scheme and the Public Sector Lending Facility, which combines Commission grants with European Investment Bank (EIB) loans. Therefore, the European Commission’s positive decision to extend access to the Just Transition Fund to the Łódź Province (which was possible thanks to the key commitment of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA) not only means real assistance for the Łódź region and its inhabitants (especially employees of the Bełchatów Energy Complex) in the amount, but also creates new opportunities for PGE Group within the whole Just Transition Fund. PGE Group will continue to actively participate in efforts to make the most of opportunities to support investment activities from EU and national funds.