The European Commission adopted Polish Operational Programs worth a total of €3.85 billion intended for its climate transition. The funds under the Just Transition Fund (JTF) will be received by the regions of Silesia, Małopolska, Wielkopolska, Lower Silesia, and Łódzkie.
Western Małopolska and Silesia will receive most of the funding, as these areas have the largest hard coal mining in the EU.
“With a budget of around €2.4 billion for Silesia and Western Małopolska, the EU funding will assist the region’s inhabitants and support them during the transition to a green economy, with new job opportunities and cleaner air,” the EU commission press release states.
The fund will specifically support the local economic diversification by investing in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the renewable energy, clean mobility, and other green sectors. The JTF will also invest in the rehabilitation and decontamination of 2,800 hectares that featured heavy mining, with the “polluter pays” principle.
The fund will also invest in Western Małopolska to improve the energy efficiency of public administration and residential buildings, including with heat pumps and other upgrades.
The JTF will cover the training of 100,000 workers as well, many of whom are currently employed in the fossil fuels sector. According to estimates, 27,000 new jobs will be created in Silesia in the framework of the “just transition” plan.
The Konin subregion of Wielkopolska will receive €415 million to realize its plan of transitioning from its lignite mining industry and power plants. Those funds will be used to convert power and mining operations to renewable energy production, including green hydrogen. The funds will also support the development of a circular economy and focus investments on increasing energy efficiency via building insulation. Moreover, the funds will be used to support training and education for 5,500 workers in the lignite industry.
The Wałbrzyskie subregion of Lower Silesia will receive €581.5 million to diversify the local economy by creating new SMEs and start-ups, especially in the green sectors. A more diversified economy is to contribute to creating 1,000 new green jobs in carbon-neutral sectors. Investments in renewable energy sources such as solar energy are planned, as well as in the replacement of obsolete boilers and installation of new insulation in buildings.
The Łódzkie region will receive €369.5 million of EU funds that will be invested in new business infrastructure for local SMEs and research labs, as well as energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment.