But that won’t solve a bigger problem. A sudden withdrawal from coal, many fears in Poland, will push the country into the position of Germany, which is heavily dependent on natural gas imports from Russia.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said this month that the government will not allow the closure of the Bogatynia mine because “it could endanger Poland’s energy security”.
However, the domestic political risks of rapidly moving away from coal are of greater concern.
During a visit to Bogatynia ahead of Poland’s presidential election last year, incumbent President Andrzej Duda said that coal miners were doing Poland a “great service” and that they would not be. abandoned. The city’s voters supported him in the election, helping him to victory.
Andrzej Grzegorowski, a union leader at the power plant next to the Turow mine, said he voted for Mr. Duda because “he raised high hopes for the future of coal”. However, if he votes again for Mr. Duda’s ruling party, law and justice, it will depend on whether or not the mine is maintained, he added.
Fearful of upsetting the miners, a shrinking but well-organized and noisy constituency, Polish politicians have long struggled to balance the demands for green energy emanating from Brussels with the demands for employment from voters.
“Everyone in my family has always been connected to the mine here,” said Bogumił Tyszkiewicz, a union leader at the Turow mine. His two brothers, two brothers-in-law and his sister all have jobs at Polish Energy Group, or PGE, a state-owned company that operates the mine and the adjacent power plant. Only her son, who has found work in a green energy company in another city, does not depend on the mine for his livelihood.