Ostroleka C is a 1GW ultra-supercritical coal-fired power project under construction at Ostroleka, in north-east Poland. It was expected to be the last coal power plant to be built in Poland.

The anti-coal European Union (EU) climate policy as well as a shift in European Investment Bank financing policies, however, forced development partners Energa and Enea to suspend financing for the coal-fired project in February 2020.

Ostroleka C is now being considered to be built as a gas-fired facility.

The power plant was to be owned and operated by ElektrowniaOstroleka, a special-purpose 50:50 joint venture between Polish state-run utilities, Energa and Enea.

The engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the plant was signed in July 2018.

Construction works on the £1.24bn ($1.6bn) project were started in October 2018.

Scheduled to commence operation in 2023, the Ostroleka C power plant was expected to produce 7,200GWh of electricity a year, which would have been enough to power 300,000 Polish homes.

Ostroleka C power project development history

In 2009, Energa, the owner and operator of Ostroleka A and Ostroleka B power plants, established ElektrowniaOstroleka to build the 1,000MW Ostroleka C power plant and started preparatory works with the aim of bringing the new plant into operation by 2012.

The project was, however, canceled in late-2012, due to lack of financing.

The Ostroleka C project development kick-started in the second half of 2016 after Energa and Enea entered a joint investment agreement for the project, with Enea buying 50% interest in ElektrowniaOstroleka.

The coal power project received permits from the Polish government in July 2016.

Controversy over Ostroleka C

Although construction has already started, Energa and Enea have not able to secure full financing for the project, as banks have refrained from supporting coal-fired projects for environmental and sustainability reasons.

Energa and Enea suspended financing to freeze construction works on the coal-based power project in February 2020.

The Ostroleka C project has been criticised by environmental activists as well as investors who have questioned its economic viability in the face of rising carbon emission costs.

Poland's state-run oil farm PKN Orlen, which announced plans to take over Energa in December 2019, has hinted its intention to replace coal with natural gas as a fuel source for Ostroleka C.

If built as a gas-fired facility, the Ostroleka C project completion is expected to be delayed beyond 2023.

Ostroleka C power plant make-up

Located on a site adjacent to Ostroleka A and B power plants on the border of the Rzekuń Commune and the City of Ostroleka, the 1,000MW power plant was planned to be equipped with an ultra-supercritical boiler and a steam turbine generator supplied by GE.

The plant was to use hard coal as primary fuel and biomass as secondary fuel.

Ostroleka C would have a closed cooling system consisting of cooling towers using water from the Narew River for cooling.

With net power efficiency exceeding 46%, Ostroleka C was planned to be one of the most efficient thermal power plants in Poland.

The plant was also planned be fitted with all necessary emission control equipment to meet the European Union’s (EU) strict emission standards applicable for large combustion plants (LCPs).

Coal supply for Ostroleka C

Ostroleka C power plant was to be supplied with coal from Bogdanka coal mines located in the Lublin Coal Basin, approximately 273.4km away from the project site, under long-term coal supply agreements with PolskaGrupaGórnicza (PPG) and LubelskiWęglemBogdanka. Enea owns a majority stake in Bogdanka mines.

PPG agreed to supply up to two million tonnes of coal a year for Ostroleka C and one million tonne of coal a year for Ostroleka B, under a long-term agreement signed in 2016.

Power transmission from Ostroleka C

The electricity generated by the power plant was to be evacuated by the state-owned transmission company PolskieSieciElektroenergetyczne Operator (PSE) via 400kV transmission lines connected the GrudziądzWęgrowo substation.

Contractors involved

GE Power signed the EPC for the Ostroleka C power plant in July 2018. The company was to design and build the power plant as well as provide the boiler and turbine generator, under the contract agreement.

Polimex-Mostostal, an engineering and construction company based in Poland, was selected as the subcontractor by GE Power for the plant construction as well as for the delivery and assembly of steel structures for the Ostroleka C project, in June 2018.

PHB Weserhütte, a subsidiary of Spanish engineering firm TSK Group, was subcontracted by GE Power for the EPC of material handling and storage systems of the Ostroleka C project in June 2019.

Mostostal Warszawa was awarded a £130m (PLN 609m) contract by GE Power for the construction of coal handling facilities, ancillary units, roads, as well as partial construction of the main building in August 2019.

A consortium of Torpol and Zakłady Automatyki KOMBUD was awarded a £36.5m (PLN 178.8 m) contract by ElektrowniaOstroleka for the reconstruction of the railway infrastructure related to the Ostroleka C power project in October 2019.

Ostroleka A and B plant details

Ostroleka A coal-fired power plant, built in 1956 with an initial installed capacity of 78MW and later upgraded to 390MW, was decommissioned in 2014.

Ostroleka B, comprising three 200MW coal-fired generating units, was commissioned in 1972. The power plant has been undergoing a comprehensive modernisation programme since 2015.

The modernisation programme involved the replacement of three OP-650 boiler units supplied by Rafako and the refurbishment of turbine generator units, to increase the total generating capacity of the plant to 681MW, while decreasing Knox emissions.

Further, the switchgears and transformers were refurbished and the flue-gas desulfurisation (FGD) technology was installed.

A contract agreement was signed with Rafako and Energy SerwisSpolka to construct the second FGD unit for Ostroleka B, in July 2018.