Major mining companies pay dividends instead of funding new projects that would speed up the green transition.

Environment put aside: Poland allowed the use of coal for heating homes

Poland decided to suspend a ban on the usage of coal for heating homes. The ban suspension is until April next year. The officials hope this step will ease the supply crisis already affecting the country.

Poland is European Union’s biggest coal producer and lignite, the more polluting coal, is used for electricity production. It was banned for household heating usage several years ago due to poor air quality.

But, people in small towns and villages widely use lignite mostly imported from Russia. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland in April banned Russian coal. The result was less coal for heating homes on the market and thus shortages and higher prices.

Homes heating first

Poland produces around 80% of its electricity in plants using coal. This makes the economy of Poland heavily dependent on this air pollution-causing fuel. Statistics say there is the highest ratio of premature deaths due to air pollution in the EU.

Polish parliament passed the bill on suspending the lignite ban on Thursday. The bill also suspends fines for burning brown coal. Thus, Poland put the environment and people’s health aside this winter.

The parliament also decided to suspend the obligation of utility companies to trade with electricity on the market. Polish energy regulator objected to this decision, but the government says it will keep the prices of electricity low.

No coal, no electricity

Poland struggles to produce sufficient electricity from other sources than coal long before the current energy crisis.

The EU’s Court of Justice September last year ordered Poland to pay a daily fine of €500,000 because the Polish government refused to close the Turow coal mine. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had refused to comply with the order and said if Poland had to close the coal mines, that would leave the industry and households without electricity.


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