While international negotiators are in Bonn for COP23, Poland is already gearing up for next year’s COP24 in Katowice, and showcasing its active role in the global climate negotiations. Poland is the only country that held 4 times the Presidency of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) and that hosted it 3 times. As part of the country’s presidency of COP 24, Poland’s most important task will be to negotiate and adopt the implementation package, with all the decisions this will require for the full delivery of the Paris Agreement.
With a number of success factors, Poland’s electricity sector, represented by the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE), plays a fundamental role in the country’s global commitment. Did you know that Poland’s power sector…
… has hit its GHG emissions reduction target set in the Kyoto Protocol more than 5 times? In 2015, the country achieved a reduction of 32 percent compared to the base year. At the same time, GDP growth reached approximately 103 percent.
… tremendously reduced its industrial emissions of SO2, NOx and particulate matter emissions? Between 2005 and 2014, SO2 and NOx emissions have been reduced by 53 percent and 27 percent respectively. Emissions of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2,5) have been reduced to less than 10 percent of the total particulate matter emissions in Poland.
… is diversifying its energy mix with the development of renewables (RES)? Ranking 7th on the wind market in Europe, with approximately 5.8 GW of installed capacity, the share of RES based capacity increased to about 21 percent of the total installed capacity in 2016. Biomass is another key energy source to achieve the RES target for Poland in 2020, and represented a share of around 31 percent in the total RES volume in 2016.
… made serious progress in its energy efficiency? Constantly improving the efficiency of its electricity production and developing cogeneration solutions, the Polish power sector has reduced the final energy intensity of GDP by 28 percent in 2015 compared to 2005. A decrease of 68 percent was observed in 2016 compared to 1990.
Some of PKEE’s members and its president shed some light on the sector’s commitment and priorities of the sector.
“The transformation itself demands significant investment outlays, a new approach to business and a continuous search for new sources of income and areas of development.”
How will the Polish electricity sector achieve its energy transition?
Filip Grzegorczyk, CEO of TAURON and Member of the Management Board of PKEE: PKEE is supportive of the Energy Union, which should consider both environmental conditions and the economic situation of each Member State and without any discrimination. The transformation itself demands significant investment outlays, a new approach to business and a continuous search for new sources of income and areas of development. This means that it will proceed differently in each country. It is therefore necessary for the European energy sector to develop a long-term and stable regulatory framework to enhance the predictability of the business environment.
“We should not put modernization above the guarantee of security of supply.”
Daniel Obajtek, CEO of ENERGA and Member of the Management Board of PKEE: We are aware of the need to change Poland’s energy mix and to modernize our generation assets, but these processes take time and are costly. We should not put modernization above the guarantee of security of supply. Having said that, we should maintain a fair balance between various Energy Union’s demands. We need the right mechanisms in place to encourage investments into new sources of energy supply.
“We cannot ignore the potential of biomass as a renewable source of energy.”
Mirosław Kowalik, CEO of ENEA and Member of the Management Board of PKEE: It is equally important that on the way towards the achievement of the EU climate goals, we fully take advantage of all available fuel sources (specific to each member country). For instance, we cannot ignore the potential of biomass as a renewable source of energy. It creates jobs, it is affordable and its sustainable use can significantly contribute to the improvement of social welfare.
How does Poland’s contribution weigh in the international climate ambitions?
Henryk Baranowski, CEO of PGE and president of PKEE | via PGE
Henryk Baranowski, CEO of PGE and president of PKEE: Political will to modernize the Polish energy mix is our highest priority and Poland already has strong results. RES electricity generation has increased by 175 percent over the last 7 years while the share of coal in the mix significantly decreased. What we need down the road is time and tailor-made solutions, respecting Polish preconditions and our historic reliance on coal.
The Emissions Trading System (ETS) is a big challenge for the Polish energy sector and its consumers. Increased CO2 costs need to be compensated if the Polish energy sector is to have adequate funds for clean energy transition. An increased Modernization Fund would co-finance the necessary investments leading to the modernization of the energy generation in all beneficiary countries. The compensation schemes must remain technology neutral.
“Additional cost of carbon permits of 1 EUR/tCO2 means a parallel increase of wholesale electricity prices close to 1 EUR/MWh, while there is virtually no impact in a number of other countries.”
Why is Poland skeptical about the EU’s climate policy?
Henryk Baranowski, CEO of PGE and president of PKEE: We fully support the direction of the European energy transition towards a sustainable future. We share the objective of EU’s climate policy, but the tools to reach it are a socio-economic issue for Poland. High carbon prices affect different Members States in a different way. In our case, additional cost of carbon permits of 1 EUR/tCO2 means a parallel increase of wholesale electricity prices close to 1 EUR/MWh, while there is virtually no impact in a number of other countries, due to their different starting point in the energy transition. This has its serious implications on the competitiveness of our economy. No discussion about the European energy sector is complete without touching upon the basic matters of security of energy supply and affordability. Therefore, we advocate for a fair transition regarding cost, time and allowed measures.
Sources: Eurostat, EC, Central Statistical Office of Poland.