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Report: Polish energy group to invest in renewables, says owner

Zygmunt Solorz, the owner of Polish power generator Zespół Elektrowni Pątnów-Adam-Konin SA, or ZE PAK, said he will start investing in renewables, Reuters reported Aug. 5.

"Today we all need clean air ... I have already asked the companies which I am involved in to look at what we could do," Solorz, who also owns media and telecommunications group Cyfrowy Polsat SA, was quoted as saying.

Headquartered in Konin, Poland, ZE PAK produces energy from conventional sources and through the combustion and co-combustion of biomass, as well as through lignite-fired plants.

According to the Reuters report, the company now plans to construct a solar photovoltaic plant and boost its investments in biomass.

"ZE PAK has started the process of reducing the share of coal in energy production and development of projects related to renewable sources. Transforming ZE PAK from coal energy into green energy will take some time, but this is an irreversible process," the company said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.

In July, ZE PAK announced a proposal to convert its Konin power plant in Poland from coal to biomass, through the creation of a second biomass-fired generating unit with a capacity of 50 MWe. The first 50-MWe biomass unit at the Konin site was commissioned in June 2012.

ZE PAK joins Poland's other Polish utilities in signaling an intention to move away from coal toward cleaner energy sources amid rising carbon prices and mounting political and investor pressure around climate change.

Poland's government plans to cut down the share of hard coal and lignite in power production from over 80% now to 60% by 2030, and to approximately 35% by 2040, by building new low-carbon power generation.

In response, state-run utility TAURON Polska Energia SA announced plans in May to shut down two coal-fired units at its power plants, to build solar panels and onshore wind farms, and to invest in offshore wind farms. The company is targeting to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2025.