Times Are A Changin’ … Even In Poland

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Poland isn’t exactly known for its cleantech leadership. ~87% of its electricity still comes from coal, and its electric car market is tiny. Nonetheless, things will change and are beginning to change even here.

As some of you know, I’ve been living in Poland for the past 7½ years — no, not for the climate or coal pollution, but because my wife is Polish and this is what worked best for us at that stage of things. In this time, I’ve seen very little on the cleantech front to get excited about — basically, bikesharing and some nice wind farms. But that has quickly changed in less than a week….

In just a handful of days, I met with a Nissan LEAF owner who has a solar installation startup in the center of the country (I live in the southwest), a Tesla Model S owner who has a solar installation startup in the western part of the country, and a homebuilder in the western part of the country who attended our CLEANTECH REVOLUTION TOUR → Berlin event simply because he saw an ad for it and was attracted to the title. That’s all pretty exciting stuff for me.

Lily in Nissan LEAF
My little girl Lily in Tomek’s Nissan LEAF, with Tomek making sure she doesn’t go thr wrong way. Photo by Marika Shahan


The story regarding the LEAF owner, Tomasz Gać, is a particularly fun one: He’s a CleanTechnica subscriber and sent an email response to one of our newsletters. I noticed via his signature that he lived in Poland, so encouraged him to drop me a line if he was ever in Wrocław. He hadn’t stumbled across my bio before and seen that I lived in Poland, but with the invitation we got to chatting and I found out that he has a Nissan LEAF. He was going to bring his LEAF over here to show to the staff at a franchise branch of a courier company he founded (Facebook page here), so stopped by our home as well to share with my wife, daughter, and me. It was a lot of fun. After our meeting (on Thursday), he decided to come over to our CLEANTECH REVOLUTION TOUR → Berlin event two days later. I figured he’d just join for the EV Saturday part, but was happy to see him on Solar Sunday as well… where I found out that he had also founded a solar installation startup! The name is Energia Słonća (Facebook page here). We are already chatting about another idea I’ve been thinking about for a while. If the idea goes somewhere, I’ll be sure to let you know! 😀

Photo of Tomek’s LEAF via company website: quriers.pl

Meeting the Polish homebuilder, Tomasz Mocek, and then yet another EV owner with a solar startup is what propelled me to write this article, though. We have a charging station ~2 minutes down the street (by foot) from us, but had only seen one car using it in the past 1½ years before this week — a Tesla Model S from the Czech Republic. Yesterday, on our way into the city center, I spotted another Model S there! It had something written on the side, and I was eager to see it up close, so we walked over. The writing on the side, as you can see, is for solar installation company T&T Proenergy (clever Facebook page here).

Poland may be much slower to provide incentives for electric cars and solar power, and adoption may be much lower, than several other European countries, the US, China, India, Japan, and other large economies, but times are a changin’… even here. I’m happy I got to meet some of the country’s true early adopters and ecopreneurs, and I look forward to working with them to speed up the cleantech revolution in Poland.

Tesla Model S photos by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica | EV Obsession (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7129 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan

16 thoughts on “Times Are A Changin’ … Even In Poland

  • There may not be incentives or other financial support for electric cars, solar panels and other green tech, however, technology improvements mean subsidies are increasingly not required.

      • We’ll with the Fastned network of solar powered electric car charging stations quickly expanding across Europe, it would be nice if Fastned could quickly build a network of these solar electric powered charging stations across Poland. That could really facilitate the growth of Electric cars. Also incentives, like Norway has done, would really accelerate the adoption of electric cars.

        • Yes. I guess Fastned is probably the most likely to develop a good network of 150 kW charging stations across Europe … but still need to get that going (I’m sure there are some hurdles) and need OEMs to build cars that can charge on that network.

          • Little tip for Fastned or other ev charging stations companies – some areas in Poland have subsidies – even 50% price of charger (from WFOSiGW – polish enviromental founds). It’s aviable in Lodz for sure 🙂

  • After seeing what our new Duck’s goverment does, it seems that in Poland renewable things are changing but for worse… They block development of wind farms, they say that they never allow to liquidate polish coal mining industry. Sometimes I think that polish people are addicted to coal smog and combustion engine exhaust gasses…(the best are from tdi engine)

    • Not good news… 😛 And also not surprising.

      Well, people do tend to get addicted to harmful substances, don’t they? Surely, the coal lobby has **far** too much control over the politicians, and feeds the media the large majority of its “energy knowledge.” Tough to turn things around when that’s the case.

  • 87% of electricity from coal? Australia and Poland are sooty twins. But the good news is Australia will never build another coal power plant and is gradually closing them down. I take it that, despite the actions of Polish versions of our Coal-ition, Poland is on the same track.

    • Poland has been heavily lobbying the EU for lame “clean energy” rules that include certain types of biomass that really aren’t helpful. As @disqus_GfzmMlJETK:disqus notes, we also have a GOP-like government in place right now that is trying to push the country back even further. Wind was actually doing alright here…

      Eventually, though… and if the government doesn’t come around, guys like Tomek and Roman will provide better off-grid options.

  • It would seem that with Poland’s climate, energy efficiency in buildings would be a huge opportunity. Building codes aligned with the PassiveHaus standards (developed just next door) would save a ton of money and ultimately make Russian gas economically and politically irrelevant. What’s the situation in Poland on moving from “conventional” building codes of the 1990s and 2000s to the next generation of performance?

    • Considering the coal penetration, I would take the Russian NatGas…though of course renewables would be the best 🙂

      • I think a lot of the Russian gas goes to heating buildings, as in much of Europe. Hence, better buildings make the need for heating virtually disappear.

  • Changing, but not so rapidly that I will have to stop using it as a negative point of comparison in various grid reliability, grid generation mix and related writing any time soon. Phew. Thought I’d have to learn how to spell one of the ‘stans. 😉

    • Kazakhstan is already charging ahead with renewable energy.

      Poland is going to be a laggard for a long time. Actually, you should expect countries with *coal mines* to be laggards, because the governments want to “protect mining jobs”. China, the US, and India are switching course but it’s like turning a battleship. Australia’s COALition is actively trying to keep coal open but the economics for coal there are exceptionally dire; transportation costs make it impractical to export, solar irradiance is really really good, and weirdness in the electricity market means that cheap coal == expensive electricity.

      I’d keep an eye on Russia, which seems likely to be a laggard (bad irradiance, useless government policy, easy transportation routes).

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