I don’t hear about Poland much when it comes to renewable energy, despite living here. When I do hear about it, it is often in a negative respect — Poland relies heavily on coal and is probably the largest opponent in the EU to raising EU-wide renewable energy targets.
The Polish government announced its renewable energy goals for this year, up to 2015, and up to 2019 on Tuesday and, considering it’s rather important role in the EU, I thought I’d share those with you (with a bit of commentary, of course).
Polish leaders announced that they are aiming to produce 8.85% of energy from renewable resources this year, 13% by 2015, and 16.78% by 2019. This is quite a good target for Poland, I’d say. According to the EU’s renewable energy plan, Poland is supposed to be getting 15% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020.
“More than 90 percent of Poland’s electricity comes from highly-pollution coal. Warsaw wants to develop nuclear and renewables projects as it tries to align its economy with the European Union’s ambitions to cut carbon dioxide emissions,” Gabriela Baczynska of Reuters writes.
Poland’s Energy Struggles and Strengths
Coal is the big daddy the country is wrestling with. Struggling to raise itself up to the economic level of Western European countries, it has considerable challenges that are quite different from those in the U.S. or in EU countries like Germany and France. The difference between pay and cost of living is quite different here. Basic necessities such as housing and food absorb a bigger portion of people’s budgets. Increasing such basic costs in the short-term would be a challenging and politically risky move. But everyone has to do their part to cut their carbon pollution now and countries that switch to cleaner energy sooner will probably reap the most rewards economically later on. Polish leaders seem to realize that.
The EU renewable energy target has been to get 20% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020, but with clear indication that it is going to surpass that, there has been a push to raise the target to 25% or even 30%. As I mentioned above, Poland has been a critical block to such an increase. Hopefully, these relatively ambitious targets are a sign that Poland is looking to do more to help the EU reach 25%.
While, like nearly every country, Poland is too heavily reliant on oil, it does have a rather ambitious biofuels program — its strong point when it comes to renewable energy. Hopefully, a stronger focus on wind and solar power will be stimulated in the years to come as well — we certainly have some beautiful mountains that could be nicely decorated with 21st-century wind turbines.
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Photos via SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget
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