EIB’s support to one of Europe’s dirtiest power companies: Polish coal utility PGE

Despite its claim to play a leading role in tackling climate change, the EIB continues to finance power companies that are heavily invested in coal. These companies are not only fueling climate change and contributing to unacceptable levels of air pollution, many have no plans to change their businesses in the near future. Greenpeace looked at one of these companies, Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), Poland’s largest power utility.

How much of PGE’s business involves coal?

PGE produces 91 percent of its electricity from burning hard coal and lignite (brown coal). In contrast, only 4 percent of the company’s electricity is generated using renewable energy sources. The company is also actively involved in hard coal and lignite mining. It owns and operates two open-pit mines (Bełchatów and Turów) which produced almost 50 million tons of lignite in 2017 – more than 80 percent of Poland’s total lignite production. The utility is also financially engaged in the biggest Polish hard coal mining group (Polska Grupa Górnicza). It is clear that PGE’s current business model is incompatible with the Paris climate agreement and instead fully supports the Polish government’s pro-coal agenda.

Despite PGE’s significant investments in coal, the EIB signed two contracts with PGE in 2015 valued at EUR 464 million. While these funds are allocated to modernize PGE’s distribution network and two power plants, EIB’s contracts effectively enable PGE to free up other external and internal financing to further invest in coal.

The EIB must divest from energy companies that fuel climate change and destroy the environment and local communities.