Last updated on: 2021-10-29



Press release from the visit of the Vice President of the World Bank

On July 16, 2021, Ms Anna Bjerde, vice president of the World Bank and head of this institution for Europe and Central Asia, paid an official visit to the city of Konin. During the several-hour visit, the guests became familiar with the challenges facing the region in relation to the forthcoming energy transition and met the representatives of local authorities and communities. In the course of the visit, the representatives of the World Bank and the regional authorities of the Greater Poland Province signed a letter to strengthen cooperation in the field of just transition analyses, as well as substantive support connected with the ambitious plan to abandon the extraction and use of lignite in the subregion.

At the meetings with the representatives of the ZEPAK Group, trade unions, local governments and non-governmental organizations, the vice-president of the World Bank could learn about the issues and development challenges facing Eastern Greater Poland, as well as the expansion potential of the region. Anna Bjerde, among others, visited Pątnów power plants, Jóźwin open pit, and photovoltaic farm in Brudzew.

Eastern Greater Poland is one of the first Polish mining regions where the process of just transition will be implemented. In its area, there are mines and coal-fired power plants with a capacity of over 1 GW, at which nearly 4,000 people are employed.

The Management Board of ZE PAK informed the deputy head of the World Bank about the planned and already undertaken activities that are aimed at the transformation of the Capital Group. In accordance with the recently adopted strategy, ZE PAK plans to completely abandon lignite mining by 2030 and shut down the power plants using this raw material for electricity and heat production. In the longer term, i.e., by 2040, the Capital Group intends to achieve full climate neutrality.

The trade union representatives had the opportunity to present social problems that result from changes implemented in ZE PAK companies in connection with the energy transition.

Close cooperation with the World Bank, with the participation of the European Commission, will allow the region to benefit from the knowledge and experience in the area of energy transition gained in many countries around the world. This will enable the identification of measures to mitigate the socio-economic impact of a gradual shift from lignite. With the application and implementation of the developed solutions, it will be possible to benefit, inter alia, from the financial backing of the EU Just Transition Fund (JTF).

Maciej Sytek, the Proxy of the Greater Poland Province Management Board for the restructuring of Eastern Greater Poland and the President of the Management Board of Regional Development Agency in Konin, and the representative of regional authorities in Eastern Greater Poland said:

“We consider the energy transition of Eastern Greater Poland not only as a vital development issue, but also, and perhaps above all, as an opportunity, owing to which it will be possible to improve the quality of life of the residents and economic growth based on the identified potentials. Thanks to close cooperation with the World Bank, we will be able to take full advantage of the experience and knowledge of its experts from around the world, so as to best adapt the support instruments that are being developed to the internal conditions and expected needs".

About the World Bank

The World Bank is an international financial institution, the mission of which is to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. Operating in over a hundred countries, the World Bank provides preferential loans that support various types of investments and reforms in areas such as infrastructure, public administration, financial sector, health, and many others. The bank also provides support to many countries through advisory and analytical projects. The World Bank is also one of the most important organizations supporting the development of Poland. The key projects currently implemented by the World Bank in Poland include flood protection projects on the Oder and Vistula rivers, supporting less developed regions of Poland, climate action and reforms of the health care system.