Poland to Speed Up Clean Energy Spending as Coal-Asset Spinoff Nears

(Bloomberg) -- Polish utilities are set for a green investments spree starting next year as the country is moving forward with its plan to remove coal burden from their books.

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Executives at Poland’s largest utilities PGE SA and Tauron Polska Energia SA are convinced that the delayed government plan to carve out coal-fired power plants to a separate entity will be completed next year. The spinoff is paramount for the power groups to regain access to financial markets, currently curbed by their exposure to the dirty fuel.

“My dream is to agree the whole carve-out model this year and carry it out the next year,” Grzegorz Lot, chief executive officer of Tauron, said in an interview on Tuesday. “There’s an understanding of what the companies are communicating and I estimate that with a big probability it will happen next year.”

His statement echoes the one from PGE CEO Dariusz Marzec, who said last month that he hoped the carve-out would happen in 2025.

The country’s biggest state-controlled power utilities saw big swings in their share prices over past weeks after mixed messages from the government ministers first put the process in doubt only to place it back on the agenda later. At the moment, it seems that the cabinet is finally on board with the plan.

Tauron’s Lot admitted the talks aren’t easy and the major challenge is to find the money and set the price in the deal. However, once it’s done it opens up investment possibilities for the utility that seeks to expand in wind, solar, energy storage and “greening” of its heating plants.

“The carve-out will put us on a fast transition highway,” Lot said in Katowice. “Without it, we can still function, but it wouldn’t be the scale of investments we want.”

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