May 27, 2019 / 4:19 PM / 3 months ago

Poland's Tauron confirms coal mine sale in green push

WARSAW (Reuters) - State-run Polish utility Tauron confirmed on Monday it was considering selling one of its three coal mines as part of a plan to shift to greener energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Sustaining the coal industry has been one of the main industrial policies of Poland’s ruling nationalists, the Law and Justice party (PiS), but surging carbon emission costs are forcing many utilities to turn toward cheaper sources of renewable energy.

In a strategy update published on Monday, Tauron said it could sell its Janina mine in the south of Poland, leaving it with the Sobieski and Brzeszcze mines, which are located in the same region.

It also said it planned to build onshore wind farms with a total capacity of 900 megawatts (MW) and solar panels with a capacity of 300 MW, as well as to investment in offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea.

Along with closing down coal-fueled 120 MW and 200 MW units at its power plants, the plan will help Tauron reduce emissions by 20% by 2025.

Earlier in May sources told Reuters that Tauron may sell some of its loss-making coal mines to improve its financial situation.

Tauron is the most indebted of Poland’s energy groups and faces costs related to a cap on electricity prices, putting pressure on its ability to sustain the mines.

“The introduction of new options to the group’s strategy will be the basis for a safe and sustainable transformation of Tauron” the company’s chief executive was quoted as saying in a statement.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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