3. Poland misusing funds to reign as the King of Coal
An exemption to the EU’s flagship climate action instrument, the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), allows electricity installations in Central and Eastern Europe to emit greenhouse gases for free. If only they invest the agreed amount of money into cleaning up their energy mix. But that would mean relinquishing Poland’s known status in the EU as the King of Coal. So instead, the Polish government uses this asset to subsidize its old polluting coal plants.
A special exemption (Article 10c) from the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) Directive allows lower-income Member States from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to give emission permits for free to electricity installations under the condition that they invest a preassigned monetary value in the modernisation and diversification of their energy systems. Unfortunately, the exemption has been largely misused to subsidise coal power plants in CEE countries, including Poland where over 80% of total investments focus on fossil fuel capacity modernisation.The free allowances allocated to Poland, of a market value estimated at €7.4 billion between 2013 and 2019, are being spent on subsidizing old polluting coal power plants. That includes investments in Belchatow power station (Europe’s largest and worst polluting coal power plant), retrofits of coal units that will close down by 2020, as well as conversion of coal plants to co-fire coal with biomass and the upgrading of coal combustion infrastructure.

Poland’s misbehaviour, that amounts to a huge fossil fuel subsidy, has wide-scale impacts on its economy, the environment and the health of its population. It defies economic logic and knocks Poland further away from being a competitive economy on its clean energy transition. While for the environment and human health, it’s nothing short of a disaster!

Nominated by
Alliance of Associations Polish Green Network – Zwiazek Stowarzyszen Polska Zielona Siec (Polska Zielona Siec – PZS)
The Foundation "Development YES – Open-Pit Mines NO" (Fundacja "Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE")
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