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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 9, 2008
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RWE to Build Power Plant in Silesia
July 9, 2008 By A.R.    
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Germany's RWE corporation, one of the largest power engineering groups in Europe, plans to invest 1.5 billion euros to build a giant coal-fired power plant in Poland's southern Silesia region.

The plant's output will be 800 megawatts and it will rely on state-of-the-art technology with low carbon dioxide emissions. The new plant will significantly contribute to meeting demand for electricity in Poland, which is expected to grow at a rate of 3-5 percent annually in the coming years. The project will also improve the country's energy security.

The project, worth 1.5 billion euros, will be the largest private investment project in Poland's power sector to date. RWE will carry it out together with Poland's Kompania Węglowa coal company, which will hold a minority stake in the venture.

The power plant will be built on the site of the Piast Ruch II coal mine owned by Kompania Węglowa in the town of Wola in Silesia. The plant's launch is planned for early 2015.

"Poland is one of our most important markets, and this new state-of-the-art and highly efficient power plant is one of our key projects," said Juergen Grossmann, president of the RWE group.

The Polish project is a part of RWE's "more development, less carbon dioxide" strategy announced at the start of this year, and it involves the largest investment program in the group's history. RWE plans to invest a total of 30 billion euros by 2012. Projects outside Germany will cost the group up to 20 billion euros.

RWE will contribute equity to the project as well as its extensive experience in power generation. The group generates more than 76 TWh from brown coal and 71 TWh from hard coal. The total output of RWE's power plants exceeds 44.5 gigawatts. "The new power plant, like the modern power units RWE has built in Germany and plans to build in the Netherlands, will boast very high efficiency, at around 46 percent. This will make it one of the most modern power plants of its type in the world and the most modern in Poland," said Johannes F. Lambertz, president of RWE Power.

To compare, the efficiency of Poland's existing power plants is 33-35 percent. This means that up to 30 percent less coal would be used to generate each kWh of power, with annual carbon dioxide emissions reduced by 1.3 million metric tons.

After it builds the new power plant, RWE's total investment in Poland will come to 2.5 billion euros. It has invested in Polish companies such as RWE Stoen, RWE Stoen Operator, Elektrociepłownia Będzin combined heat-and-power plant, a water and sewerage company in Dąbrowa Górnicza, and wind power plants. With all these projects, RWE ranks as one of the largest foreign investors in Poland.

Kompania Węglowa will play an important role in the venture, contributing the site as well as the infrastructure needed during the construction project. It will also supply the power plant with coal for the duration of its operation. "This new project is very important for the whole region," said Grzegorz Pawłaszek, president of Kompania Węglowa. "The construction project will create several thousand jobs, and once the new power plant is operational it will ensure long-term employment for hundreds. More jobs will be created in companies dealing with the construction and operation of the new power plant. The partnership with RWE also guarantees us a long-term contract for the delivery of 2.5 million metric tons of coal per year."
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