An amendment was approved by the upper house of the Polish parliament recently to support more investment in green energy. This development might be a step in the right direction for a country which relies heavily on coal, but the amendment still needs to receive the President’s signature.
Reaching EU clean energy targets for a country with so much coal-based electricity will be challenging.
“For sure for us this (35% minimum threshold) would be a very difficult challenge. From the 2030 perspective it will be difficult if not almost impossible to meet,” said Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski.
Writing for the Global Energy Initiative, Artur Gradziuk explained why it may be very arduous, “As a country abundant in coal, and where more than 90% of electricity is produced in the coal-fired power plants, the costs of decarbonizing the energy sector in Poland would be inflated. Furthermore, more limited potential for wind and PV solar energy development (indicated as the most prospective for climate change mitigation) in Poland than other member states could mean that after replacing fossil fuels with renewables, Poland would have to import electricity produced in other parts of Europe.”
In 2016, the Polish government placed some restrictions on new wind power development which were not helpful at all for the development of more of this clean, renewable energy.
Reportedly, the effect was very chilling, “This tripled or even quadrupled investment costs, according to PSEW. It also led to just 41MW of new capacity being added in 2017, pushing Polish cumulative installations to 6.4GW. The 2017 figure was down from 682MW in 2016 and 1,266MW one year earlier.”
The total installed wind power capacity is about 6.4 GW. (For the sake of comparison, Germany has about 56 GW.)
Poland’s relatively low wind power capacity is not indicative of the country’s potential, “However, we mustn’t forget that the true market potential of wind energy in Poland by 2020 is approximately 11.5 GW onshore and 1.5 GW offshore, according to the independent Renewable Energy Institute.”
The country has even less solar power, “It is expected that, by mid-2019, the cumulative solar capacity in Poland will be around 700 MW and soar to 1 GW by 2020.”
Of course, it’s no news that some countries are not embracing clean and renewable energy, so hopefully the new legislative development is a good sign for Poland.
Are there also subsidies in Poland for coal? You betcha!
Just take a look at this, “The Commission’s green light to an unprecedented amount of coal subsidies is obviously inconsistent with the imperative to phase out coal in Europe by 2030 required by the objectives of the Paris Agreement. It is a huge sell-out to the Polish coal industry at the expense of Polish taxpayers and the climate. It is vitally important that the EU corrects this mistake and ensures that the biggest polluters are precluded from receiving public money in the ongoing negotiations of the Clean Energy Package,” explained Joanna Flisowska, Coal Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network.
So, we will have to wait and see if the new legislative development will make any significant difference in the Polish renewable energy situation.