Energy IEA urges Poland to clean up its energy

Editor: Susanne Hertenberger

Poland’s new energy strategy will put the country on a path towards a cleaner energy system, the International Energy Agency said in its latest review of the country’s energy policies.

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According to the government coal will remain the cornerstone of the energy system of Poland for the long term; the mining sector is a major source of employment and policies affecting the sector have a large social and regional impact.
According to the government coal will remain the cornerstone of the energy system of Poland for the long term; the mining sector is a major source of employment and policies affecting the sector have a large social and regional impact.
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The forthcoming energy strategy is likely to prioritise long-term energy security, placing a strong emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, increasing energy efficiency and decarbonising the transport system.

Investments

The new energy strategy will require significant investments to reduce the share of carbon-intensive power plants and increase the share of low-carbon energy, including nuclear energy and renewables, said IEA’s Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol at the launch of the Warsaw Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Poland 2016 Review.

Birol also noted that Poland is investing in nuclear energy capacity in order to strengthen its energy independence, security of supply and reduce GHG emissions. The IEA review highlights on the need to develop a skilled workforce and the mechanisms for financing the construction and operation of the new nuclear power plants as soon as possible.

Need for energy efficiency

The review notes that, according to the government, coal will remain the cornerstone of the energy system of Poland for the long term. The mining sector is a major source of employment and policies affecting the sector have a large social and regional impact. Birol noted that the new energy strategy must determine the long-term role of coal in the economy.

Coal combustion remains the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution in Poland. Many of its coal-fired power plants are old and inefficient: The replacement of these plants by plants with the newest technology represents an economic challenge for the sector, but at the same time offers an opportunity to reduce GHG emissions, air pollution and the carbon footprint from power generation. Coal use in household heating together with waste burning is a major source of local air pollution. “The government must ensure that less well-off households are provided with the means to switch to cleaner solutions, such as natural gas or district heating where available,” Birol said.

Poland’s energy efficiency policies have been strengthened by the adoption of measures such as the white-certificate scheme, and provide incentives to the industry to increase energy savings. These measures represent a solid starting point, but the government needs to broaden the scheme while at the same time developing and implementing new measures targeted at the buildings sector. In the electricity sector, Poland must step up investment in new generation and strengthen interconnections with neighbouring countries if the country is to satisfy future demand for electricity.

Birol also highlighted recent changes, citing regulations and reductions in the support mechanisms for renewable energy that have created uncertainty, and have had negative implications for investor confidence. “The future of renewable energy in Poland looks uncertain,” Birol added. On the other hand, he welcomed the country’s decision to pursue nuclear energy as a means to reduce emissions and strengthen energy security while highlighting the importance of making the correct technology and partner choice in a timely manner.

This article appeared in www.maschinenmarkt.international.

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