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Polish court rules against ENEA's plan to build 1,000-MW coal plant

A Polish court has ruled invalid ENEA SA's plan to participate in the construction of a 1-GW coal-fired plant, though the company said the ruling could still be appealed, the Financial Times reported Aug. 1.

The Ostroleka C plant in northeastern Poland, which is expected to cost about €1.2 billion and come online in 2023, has been opposed by environmental groups who argue falling renewable prices and rising carbon prices make it uneconomic.

ClientEarth, which has opposed the coal-fired project, applauded the decision.

"The plant is a stranded asset in the making, facing clear and well-documented financial risks," Peter Barnett, a lawyer at ClientEarth, was quoted as saying. "Enea and Energa should lay this project to rest before it incurs any further costs to the companies and their shareholders."

State-controlled utilities Energa SA and Enea secured a 15-year contract for Ostroleka C in Poland's first capacity auction in December 2018. The companies said they would only proceed with the project if they could get paid under the backup power scheme. Carbon Tracker, a think tank, estimated that the plant would be highly unprofitable without the subsidies.

As part of a long-term strategy to reduce carbon emissions, Poland plans to reduce the share of hard coal and lignite in power production from over 80% currently to 60% by 2030 and approximately 35% in 2040 by building new low-carbon generation like nuclear and renewables to meet rising power demand.