The Prime Minister of Poland, Ms. Beata Szydło, opened the International Mining Fair with a positive message on coal. In her address, she stated that Poland wants a power sector based on a secure energy mix, with special places for hard coal and lignite. By 2050, Poland plans to diminish its coal dependency to 50% on the assumption that a new nuclear power plant will be built. Vice Minister for Energy, Mr. Grzegorz Tobiszowski, said that with the investments now being made in new equipment, the coal mining sector will be able to make a real contribution to the Polish economy.
EURACOAL President, Dr. Cieslik, spoke at the fair’s press conference on why the modernisation of coal-fired power plants was a more secure and efficient way to meet climate targets than switching to imported gas. Relying on renewables alone was not yet an option, he said. In Germany, after the nuclear phase out and a reduction in coal/lignite generation, there would be a 200 TWh annual shortfall that must be filled.
At a related conference on coal, organised by the Polish Mining Chamber of Commerce and Industry in co-operation with EURACOAL, the main message was on building a COALition of perhaps ten EU Member States that see a role for secure and affordable coal in the “energy transition”. At its core would be those Member States that voted against adoption of the revised LCP BREF conclusions: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Greece and Slovenia were also seen as possible allies.
Prof. Prusek of the Central Mining Institute (GIG) declared a new focus on mining and combustion technologies in order to reduce the environmental impacts of coal use. Alternative uses of coal are also the subject of active research with ongoing projects around Europe in the fields of coal gasification and hydrogenation. EURACOAL itself is working to establish a new network for European clean coal technologists engaged in globally competitive coal research (CoalTech2051).