| WARSAW, Sept 12
WARSAW, Sept 12 Government support and planned
regulatory changes that will boost Poland's power market have
prompted France's Alstom to seek a major role in
constructing two new 900 megawatt coal-fired plants, a company
State-controlled PGE had quit the 11.6 billion
zloty ($3.66 billion) project to build the coal-fired units at
Opole earlier this year, arguing it was not profitable at
current power prices.
But the government said in June the plan was vital to
Poland's energy security and insisted on reviving it.
Leslaw Kuzaj, Alstom's top official in Poland, told Reuters
the current situation in Poland's power market, which has forced
utilities to cancel some of their investments, was temporary.
Utilities across Europe have scrapped plans to build new
power plants due to low wholesale power prices due to low demand
during the financial crisis.
But Kuzaj said the government's promised support for power
plant projects to boost energy security and the regulator's
plans to introduce a so-called capacity market makes the
situation in Poland more promising.
A capacity market, which Poland will likely launch in 2014,
ensures future supply by paying generators for their capacities
and not for the electricity they produce.
"I am convinced that in the nearest future the government
will solve the problem, introducing a capacity market and
regulations, which will create opportunities for investment," he
said in an interview in his office.
In August Alstom signed a preliminary agreement with Polish
construction groups, which are set to build the new units in
Opole on a possible cooperation on the project.
Details of Alstom's cooperation in the project are expected
to be worked out by the end of September.
The French company also hopes to finish talks soon on a new
deal to build a power plant in the north of Poland for Kulczyk
Investments, a company owned by one Poland's richest men, Jan
Kulczyk, a project valued at 12-15 billion
Kuzaj said his company will again submit an offer to build a
430 to 450 MW unit at the Turow site. Alstom won the tender last
time but it was cancelled due to the projected cost.
"Energy was, is, and will be the area we want to focus on in
Poland," Kuzaj said.
($1=3.1698 Polish zlotys)
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko,; Editing by Michael Kahn and