WARSAW, April 16 (Reuters) - Poland plans to create a
special energy agency that would take over coal and
lignite-fueled power plants from state utilities, including PGE
, Enea and Tauron, so that they can
focus on green energy investment, the state assets ministry said
Poland generates most of its electricity from polluting
coal, but under rising pressure from the European Union and with
carbon emission costs surging, it has encouraged more
investment in low emission sources.
"The concept of separating coal assets will speed up
Poland's energy transition," State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin
said in a statement.
Coal use has also hit the financial results of state-run
energy groups. Officials have said a new model for the industry
was needed that would help it raise funds for green projects as
banks have shied away from backing coal-dependant companies.
Environmentalists have slammed the proposal, saying it does
not solve the coal problem in Poland.
"(This is) creative accounting at the expense of taxpayers,"
said Joanna Flisowska from Greenpeace Poland, adding that the
scheme would involve more public aid for the coal-based energy
Under the plan, which some have compared to a series of
complicated asset swaps between Germany's energy giants RWE and
EON in the past, the process of separating coal assets from the
utilities' and creating the agency, to be known as NABE, will be
completed in 2022.
It will be based on a PGE unit called PGE GiEK which
directly controls PGE assets.
Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups have said that
Poland is able to phase out coal sooner than in 30 years.
"A hot potato is tossed from one pocket to another... It is
difficult to imagine that the European Commission will approve
such a plan," Flisowska said
Poland's biggest coal producer, PGG, has planned to close
its last mine in 2049 but the scheme is still being discussed
with powerful trade unions.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Dan Grebler)