The paper presents brown coal as one of the two basic domestic energy raw materials apart from hard coal. Historically, the use of brown coal in Poland is primarily fuel for the power plants. It was used for the production of lignite briquettes in small quantities and as fuel for local boiler houses and as an addition to the production of fertilizers (Konin and Sieniawa). At present, after changes in the case of the quality of fuels used in local boiler plants, brown coal remains as a fuel for the power plants in almost 100%. Currently, the brown coal industry produces about 35% of the cheapest electricity. The cost of electricity production is more than 30% lower than the second basic fuel – hard coal. The existing fuel and energy complexes using brown coal, with the Bełchatów complex at the forefront, are now an important guarantor of Poland’s energy security. In contrast to the other fuels such as: oil, natural gas or hard coal, the cost of electricity production from brown coal is predictable in the long term and almost insensitive to fluctuations in global commodity and currency markets. Its exploitation is carried out using the high technological solutions and respecting all environmental protection requirements, both in the area of coal extraction and electricity generation. Importantly, the fuel and energy complexes using brown coal showed a positive profitability so far and generated surpluses enabling the financing of maintenance and development investments, also in other energy segments. In particular, the sector did not require and has yet not benefited from public aid in the form of, for example, subsidies or tax concessions. Polish brown coal mining has all the attributes necessary for long-term development to ensure the country’s energy security. The document which is a road map for the brown coal industry is the Program for the Brown Coal Mining Sector in Poland adopted by the Council of Ministers on May 30, 2018. The Program covers the years 2018–2030 with a perspective up to 2050 and presents the development directions of the brown coal mining sector in Poland together with the objectives and actions necessary to achieve them. The Program presents a strategy for the development of brown coal mining in Poland in the first half of the 21st century. Possible scenarios have developed in active mining and energy basins as well as in new regions with significant resources of this mineral. This is to enable the most efficient use of deposits in the Złoczew and Konin regions as well as the Gubin and Legnica brown coal basins, and then deposits located in the Rawicz region (Oczkowice) as well as other prospective areas that may eventually replace the existing active mining and energy areas. This will allow power plants to continue to produce inexpensive and clean electricity, using the latest global solutions in the field of clean coal technologies.
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