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Representatives of regional and local authorities of Eastern Wielkopolska in Poland have signed up to the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) , at a ceremony hosted by the Ambassadors of Great Britain and Canada in Poland at the British Embassy in Warsaw. The region is the first Polish member of the PPCA – a coalition of over 120 countries, local governments and companies working to accelerate the transition from unabated coal power generation.

Eastern Wielkopolska is a major Polish lignite mining region, hosting two coal-fired power stations with a total capacity of over 1GW. The mines and plants employ around 4000 people. As a member of the Alliance, the region will be able to share its experience in implementing an ambitious energy transition plan with others across the world. It aims to end the use of coal in the energy and heating sectors by 2030, and achieve climate neutrality by 2040, while creating alternative jobs thanks to the support of, among others, the EU Just Transition Fund (JTF).

Maciej Sytek, President of the Board of Agencja Rozwoju Regionalnego in Konin and the Representative of the Board of the Wielkopolska Region for Restructuring of Eastern Wielkopolska, said:

“A rapid exit from coal will be a real revolution for our region, but also an opportunity to improve people’s quality of life. Through our membership in the Powering Past Coal Alliance, we will share experience and work together with national and local governments and companies from around the world to make the best use of the subregion’s development potential brought about by the energy transition.”

Piotr Korytkowski, Mayor of Konin, the subregion’s main city, said:

“The need to protect the environment means that coal is becoming a fuel of the past. We need a new, modern development pathway based on electromobility and renewable energy, while creating jobs for those who will lose them as a result of the gradual closure of coal mines and power plants. Membership in the Powering Past Coal Alliance is another step that will help us safely guide our subregion through the upcoming transformation and strengthen our influence on the measures adopted by the national government.”

The PPCA is the world’s first international initiative aimed to protect the climate and accelerate economic development by rapidly moving away from coal-fired power generation. It currently consists of 36 governments, 39 local governments, and 51 companies and organizations from around the world that have pledged to move away from coal by 2030 in developed countries and by 2050 in the rest of the world. The alliance was initiated by Canada and the UK in 2017.

Anna Clunes, British Ambassador to Poland, said:

„A quick phase-out of coal power generation is one of the most important commitments we need to take at COP26 in Glasgow. I am pleased to welcome Eastern Wielkopolska to the group of countries and companies working to accelerate the energy transition. We would like to encourage all other subnational governments in Poland to follow in its footsteps: take ambitious coal phase-out commitments and join the PPCA before the climate summit in November”.

Leslie Scanlon, Canadian Ambassador to Poland:

Eastern Wielkopolska‘s membership in the PPCA confirms the region’s leadership role in shaping the energy transition in Poland and Europe. I am full of praise for the region’s plans to move away from coal by 2030 and its achievements in organising a just transition. The experience of Eastern Wielkopolska is a good precedent for the whole country. PPCA members are ready to strengthen cooperation with the Polish government to accelerate the energy transition in the country.”

Michał Hetmański, President of the Management Board of the Instrat Foundation, and co-author of studies on a just transition in Eastern Wielkopolska, said:

“The exit from coal by 2030 is, on the one hand, necessary to meet the commitments of the European Union and Poland and the goals of the Paris Agreement. On the other hand, it requires the development of alternatives for employees and mining municipalities who may stand to lose out from this climate ambition. There are no simple recipes here – a mix of solutions is needed, from investments in renewable energy sources to economic diversification and reform of labour market institutions. PPCA members have considerable experience in the transformation of coal regions and municipalities of the Konin and Turek counties already use them. COP26 is another opportunity to share them within Poland and beyond.”

Instrat reports on Just Transition in Eastern Wielkopolska in partnership with WWF:


More information on the PPCA: www.poweringpastcoal.org

Contacts:

British Embassy, Małgorzata Śmierzycka, Malgorzata.Smierzycka@fco.gov.uk, 00 48 696 005 641

Canadian Embassy, Agnieszka Magiera, agnieszka.magiera@international.gc.ca, 00 48 664 116 122 

Powering Past Coal Alliance Secretariat, Anna Drazkiewicz, anna.drazkiewicz@poweringpastcoal.org,  00 32 487 324 562

Instrat Foundation, Michał Hetmański, michal.hetmanski@instrat.pl, 00 48 513 748 019