Polish PGE coal plants back online after rain causes outage

Poland’s biggest energy group PGE said that four units at its lignite-fuelled power plant in Belchatow are back online after an outage caused by heavy rains earlier this week. Located in central Poland, Belchatow is one of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants and one of Europe’s biggest polluters. Power is generated in 11 units with capacities of between 370 and 394 megawatts and one larger 858 MW unit. PGE’s office in Belchatow said on Wednesday that a key coal room had flooded during heavy rains on Sunday night and it had been necessary to switch off four of the smaller units.

“This is the first time in the power plant’s history that such an accident has happened. I have not seen such rainfall here before,” said a source from the company. PGE said the four units came back online on Monday.

Energy website said that the incident in Belchatow coincided with unplanned shutdowns of other coal-fuelled power stations in Poland, which resulted in a temporary jump in power prices on the balancing market on Monday to almost 1,300 zlotys per megawatt hour – a level last seen in 2015 when a lengthy heatwave and unplanned shutdowns posed serious supply risks.

Power grid operator PSE said that it used emergency imports to make up for the shortages on Monday. “The system is stable now and the operator has sufficient capacity reserves at its disposal,” PSE said.