Belchatow power station

From Global Energy Monitor

The Bełchatów power station is a 5,420-megawatt (MW) lignite-fired power complex situated near Bełchatów in Łódź Voivodeship, Poland.[1]

The complex is the largest power station in Europe[2] and one of the ten largest coal-fired power plants in the world.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Łódź Voivodeship.

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The Belchatow power station consists of the following units:

  • Belchatow I, Units 1-12 (370 to 390 MW each) - 4562 MW total - built 1981-1988 and modernized 2007 to 2016[1][3]
  • Belchatow II, Unit 1 - 858 MW - Operating 2011[4]

Proposed closure of Belchatow

Units 1-2

Belchatow SA, which was taken over by state-owned Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) in 2007, agreed to close down units 1 and 2 of the Belchatow I plant by the end of 2015, in exchange for a cash injection for the proposed Belchatow II. However, in February 2015 the European Commission said it would allow PGE to continue operating the two units. Under Poland's Transitional National Plan, PGE wants to keep running the units beyond 2020.[5]

In October 2018 PGE said it will close unit 1 of the power station by June 2019 due to environmental reasons.[6]

2020: Legal challenge accelerates closure

In September 2020, a Polish judge ordered PGE to negotiate within three months a closure timetable for Belchatow with the environmental law NGO ClientEarth. The landmark ruling was the first time a Polish court has required a coal plant to engage in dialogue with the goal of establishing a concrete plan to reduce its emissions. ClientEarth’s case against PGE argued the power plant and two associated mines polluted land, air and water in the area and damaged the climate which, as common good under Polish civil law, must be protected. ClientEarth sought a court order that 11 of the 12 coal units at the Belchatow plant be closed by 2030 with the last unit, which was commissioned in 2011, shut down by 2035. This is several years sooner than PGE’s existing schedule to close Belchatow around 2040 as coal reserves are depleted. PGE reacted to the ruling from the district court in Łódź by saying that the talks will focus on reducing its negative impact on the environment while still producing power as a key part of Poland’s energy mix. The company accepted the need to act on climate change and said it is moving away from coal, but that it wants more time to complete the transition.[7]

2021: Schedule for closing Belchatow released

In June 2021, the Marshall of Łódzkie Voivodship published a Territorial Just Transition Plan, which contains the dates for turning off energy generation units at the Bełchatów plant and an end date for lignite mining in the Bełchatów region. The following closure dates were given for the coal plant:[8]

  • 2030 – 1 unit
  • 2031 – 1 unit
  • 2032 – 2 units
  • 2033 – 2 units
  • 2034 – 3 units
  • 2035 – 2 units
  • 2036 – 1 unit

Renewable Transition plan released

In October 2022, Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a report outlining what a sustainable transition of the Belchatow facility could look like. The study suggested that 80% of the plant's capacity could be replaced by 11,000 MW of wind, solar and storage capacity. In addition, the authors posited that there was feasibility for alternative energy generation options, all of which could improve the affordability and resiliency of Poland's energy system.[9]

Background on Belchatow II (Unit 14)

Note: Even though Belchatow Phase I includes 12 units, the first unit of Belchatow Phase II is numbered Belchatow Unit 14 by PGE.[10]

Belchatow II Unit 1 was proposed by Alstom and PGE Elektrownia Belchatow.[11][12]

Alstom Poland stated in October 2008 that the company signed a contract with the Polish utility BOT Elektrownia Belchatow SA to build what "will be the largest power plant ever built in the country ... The plant would generate 10% less CO2 on a per KWh basis than the typical coal plant in the region."[13]

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which funded the project, stated on its website that "the project represents a major step in upgrading existing generating assets in Poland to ensure that they meet EU environmental legislation post 2008, notably requirements of the EU Large Combustion Plant and IPPC directives. The project is also an integral part of Polish governmental energy security program."[14]

In its December 2013 database of proposed coal plants, Platts described a second 858 MW unit at Belchatow II as "planned,"[15] however additional details are not available. With no news of the proposal, it appears to have been abandoned.

Carbon Capture and Storage project

Alstom and PGE Elektrownia Belchatow S.A. have announced plans to develop a carbon capture and storage plant at the existing Belchatow power station in Poland. In their 2008 announcement Alsom stated that the "second phase" of the project would be to build a larger CCS plant to capture CO2 produced by Belchatow II Power Station.[16]

The CCS project was cancelled in 2013 due to lack of funding.[17]

Project Details of Belchatow II

  • Sponsor: PGE GiEK
  • Parent company: Polska Groupa Energetyczna
  • Developer:
  • Location: Rogowiec, Gmina Kleszczów, Bełchatów county, Łódzkie
  • Coordinates: 51.266389, 19.330556 (exact)
  • Status: Operating[10]
  • Capacity: 858 MW
  • Type:
  • Start date: 2011
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

Resources and articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Moc osiągalna w Elektrowni Bełchatów wzrosła do 5 420 MW," PGE, accessed 2017-12-10
  2. "Bełchatów Power Station," Wikipedia, accessed May 2014
  3. "Belchatow Coal Power Plant Poland," Global Energy Observatory, accessed May 2014.
  4. "Belchatow II Coal Power Plant Poland," Global Energy Observatory, accessed May 2014
  5. " EU extends life of Europe's biggest polluter while IPCC calls for coal phase out," CAN, accessed March 2015
  6. "PGE to close 370 MW lignite unit Belchatow 1 by June," Montel News, Oct 16, 2018
  7. Marek Strzelecki, Jess Shankleman, Ewa Krukowska "Europe’s Dirtiest Coal Plant Owner Told to Talk to Green Groups," Bloomberg, Sep. 23, 2020
  8. "PGE Group: Just transition for Bełchatów region becoming a fact," PGE Group, 08.06.2021
  9. "Transitioning Europe’s Largest Coal Power Plant to a Secure, Resilient, Affordable Clean Energy Future," Bloomberg New Energy Finance, October 20, 2022
  10. 10.0 10.1 "FY 2011 Results," PGE, March 14, 2012, Slide #11
  11. Alstom, "Alstom to supply the largest clean coal power plant ever built in Poland", Alstom website, October 16, 2006.
  12. Alstom, "Belchatow", Alstom website, accessed July 2008.
  13. Alstom, "ALSTOM in Poland: A highly promising market", Alstom website, undated, accessed July 2008.
  14. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Belchatow II: Environmental Impact Assessment, August 2005.
  15. "World Electric Power Plants Database,", Platts, December 2013. The database is not available online but can be purchased from Platts.
  16. Alstom, "Alstom teams up with PGE Elektrownia Belchatow to reduce CO2 output in Poland", Media Release, December 8, 2008.
  17. "Belchatow Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project," CCS Tech, Jan. 5, 2015

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