Polish renewable energy production falls

Wind farm in Poland (SCA, CC BY)

Polish renewable energy production drops slightly as role of coal power is still strong. According to the latest Polish Energy Market Agency figures, Poland exported less energy than it imported.

Exports in June 2018 reached 460 GWh and imports 1157 GWh. In comparison to the same period in 2017, exports fell by nearly 57 per cent whilst imports grew by 101 per cent. Energy production from renewable sources fell by 19 per cent compared with 2017. Electricity production in June, as compared with May, was insignificantly higher at 31.1TWh.

Coal

In June 2018, electricity produced from bituminous coal reached 6.3TWh, which was a rise of 4 per cent in comparison to the same period last year, while from brown coal the production was the same as in 2017, at 4.2TWh. Electricity produced from coal and brown coal rose 2 per cent or 126GWh and 6.4 per cent or 255GWh respectively.

Gas and Renewables

Electricity production from gas decreased slightly to 877GWh a fall of 19 per cent y/y. Renewable energy production reached 1,48TWh of electricity compared to 1.82TWh a year ago, a fall of 19 per cent y/y or 14 per cent m/m. The share of wind power in the equation was 11.3 per cent in June this year a slight fall from 12.2 per cent in May. Renewables as a whole though, fell by 6 per cent m/m.

Photo-electric cell generated 374.6MW, having shown a dynamic growth, and biomass and biogas share rose too, reaching 134.3GWh a rise of 23 per cent.

In June, Poland exported 460GWh and imported 1,157GWh. Compared with the same period in 2017 exports decreased by 56.6 per cent and imports increased by 105.1 per cent.

The above mass of figures highlight the problems Poland faces as it re-orientates its energy policy from coal to a more balanced structure to include more renewable energy.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) 2018 Prospects

The pre-COP 24 conference took place in Katowice, a prelude December’s Climate Change Conference that will take place there. The COP is a supreme body of the UN FCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change), the international climate treaty dating from 1992, to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

The December conference will see over 190 countries co-operate to implement the 2015 Paris Climate change agreements. The problem with the Polish position is that the energy sector, as well as the industrial one, is in a transition stage from one based on over 80 per cent on coal to a more balanced one based on renewables. Jobs in the old energy sector still need to be safeguarded. This point was made by trades unions and government officials at the COP 24. Countries, such as Poland, should choose their own course and speed in transitioning from the hydrocarbon technology to the next one.

Grzegorz Tobiszowski, the Deputy Minister for Energy, stated “Those member countries in Europe that have a chance for a modern development and for modern industry, should get a support, on the condition it really is a modern industry that will preserve the region’s jobs.” He added that the coal sector accounts for 80 per cent of energy production, still employs 83,000 persons, and produces 65 million tons per year. This is a far cry from the days when the figures were closer to 400,000 and 147 million tons. By 2030 the proportion is set to fall to 49 per cent.

Question of pace and time

Monitoring the change and the issues of transparency are on the agenda, amid calls for the raising of targets to cut temperature rise by 2 per cent by 2100. Domestic electricity and gas prices are also set to rise this year, making the debate more poignant.

In a pre-conference interview with business portal biznes alert.pl, Tomasz Kosiński, deputy Director at the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE, a group comprising the largest energy producers PGE, Enea, Energa and Tauron), said that Poland should choose its own pace of change. “We think that the reduction of CO2 emissions should be undertaken by all countries, but taking into consideration their potential to reduce such emissions,” he said.

The PKEE supports the Paris Agreement to reduce CO2 emissions to 40 per cent by 2030 but also the creation of a Fair Transformation Energy Fund that will be a part of a new EU financial plan after 2020. It supports the electrification of the Polish and EU economies in areas beyond EU ETS (European Union Energy Trading System), especially in transport and construction, Mr. Kosiński continued.

Since 2008, Polish coal based energy production has reduced from 83 per cent to around 71 per cent. “Over the same period,” he argues, “renewables have increased from 4 per cent to 20 per cent.” Since the 1997 Kyoto Agreements, Poland has reduced its CO2 emissions to a great extent.

Mr. Kosiński took on board criticisms of a slow pace of change, but reiterated the transformative nature of the Polish economy getting from coal to clean energy will take time and money. Renewables, atomic and gas energy generation are all on the board, but the financial investment necessary. He thinks that Poland is at the decision making stage.

He pointed out that electromobility is one of the Polish aces in resolving the problem and providing a clean, smog-free atmosphere in Poland’s cities.

Financing from the EU is in the pipeline, although the European Investment Bank is slow in processing the paperwork. But Mr. Kosiński expects some movement in 2019. Poland has already applied for 12 projects under the Coal Regions in Transition Program, and a final list will be submitted at the December summit.

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