At the same time as governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia are implementing new thermal power plant development projects refering to Poland as an inspiration to improve coal based energy despite its unprofitability, a Polish lignite producer, ZE PAK has announced closing of all its lignite capacity in Poland by 2030.
ZE PAK’s move comes immediately after the announcement of the Polish government about plans to keep alive the failing company PGG, which exploits coal, until 2049, which implicitly shows that government is still not fully aware of the reality of the economic collapse of this industry and energy.
“ZE PAK’s decision to abandon coal by 2030 due to unprofitability reflects the reality of this industry across Europe,” said Kathrin Gutmann, campaign director of Europe Beyond Coal.
Among the governments that deny the economic unprofitability of coal in Europe, those in BiH and Serbia stand out, financing the construction of new coal-fired thermal power plants with Chinese loans whose return is guaranteed by the state .
“Our Electric Power Utility should follow the example of ZE PAK, abandon plans for the construction of new thermal power plants and start with a decisive and fair transition of the energy sector.” Our authorities need to end the practice of passing on the economic, environmental and health costs of coal to citizens. Instead of a short-term fund on who will receive a bid for construction projects such as Tuzla 7, it should be discussed who will repay the loans when its economic unprofitability is exposed. Smart money is invested in energy efficiency and renewable sources – not coal “, pointed out Denis Žiško from the Tuzla Center for Ecology and Energy.
In Serbia, Chinese loans are enticing the government to insist, not only on the new Kostolac B3 thermal power plant, which is already under construction, but also on the revision of the spatial plans of Belgrade’s Lazarevac municipalities, so that it houses additional “up to 400MV” capacity of new Kolubara B thermal power plants.
Zvezdan Kalmar from the Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEKOR) emphasizes that “the lack of transparency, public tender and other irregularities speak the most about the need to indulge regulations and economic common sense to keep coal alive with taxpayers’ money in Serbia.”
“The Serbian government defies the Paris Agreement and its own ambitions for membership in the European Union, so it continues to bet on free carbon emissions and on the continent that is already opting for climate neutrality by 2050. They will lose this bet, but the loss will not be paid by politicians but us, energy consumers, which is why we have to prevent it now, ”Kalmar said.
The Western Balkans region is home to some of the oldest thermal power plants in Europe, which are also the biggest polluters of the environment. . The question is until when the governments of this part of the world will invest in the past, ignoring the need to switch to renewable energy sources.