Korea's KHNP keen on clean energy, nuclear in Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) – Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) is interested in developing clean energy projects in Poland, including possibly taking a slice of Warsaw’s multi-billion nuclear plans, the company’s chief executive said.

Poland generates most of its electricity from coal, but pressure from investors and many governments, as well as rising costs for carbon emissions certificates have driven the country to seek low and zero emission energy sources.

While the overall process is not carbon neutral, nuclear generation produces zero emission electricity and Warsaw is seeking a partner to build 6-9 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear energy capacity and provide 49% equity financing for the project.

The cost of the Polish share, officials estimate would be 80 billion zlotys ($20.75 billion).

Poland’s most advanced talks on technology and financing are with the United States, but it has also spoken to France.

Jae-Hoon Chung, Chief executive at KHNP, a unit of Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), told Reuters South Korea could be interested too and plans to submit an offer.

“We have many entities that can support this plan, such as the Korean Export Credit Agency, KEXIM bank and the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation, KSURE… I’m sure that our offer can fully satisfy the Polish government’s expectations,” Chung said of Poland’s plan to find a partner.

Already KHNP is among potential bidders to build a nuclear power plant in the neighbouring Czech Republic, but Chung said Poland may face more challenges as it is developing nuclear for the first time.

He said he expected the tender in the Czech Republic to start in December after security concerns were addressed.

KHNP, which does not invest in fossil fuels, is also interested in the other alternatives Poland is pursuing including wind energy and solar, he said.

($1 = 3.8549 zlotys)

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