Climate Policy Environment 6 June, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

The US will not stop renewable energy

The 2nd Round Table on Energy is taking place in Warsaw. The panel on Renewable Energy Sources was moderated by Patrycjusz Wyżka from the TVN24 news channel. The discussion was dominated by the future of the Paris Agreement after President Donald Trump’s decision, who wants to pull out from the package.

Trump will not stop the trends

According to Małgorzata Mika-Bryska, Director for Regulations and Public Relations at Veolia Energy Poland, Trump’s decision on the climate agreement, whatever it will be, will not impact the global trends, such as: search for new sources, pressure on deposits, search for new technologies and renewable energy sources of the world. In her opinion, it was too late to reverse them. Bryska believes that regulations determined the development of the energy sector, both when it comes to national as well as EU laws. The other determinant was the client. Thanks to investments that improve energy efficiency we could save a significant amount of energy. As an example she gave the modernizations of the district heating installations in Warsaw and at the Volkswagen factory in Poznań.

Adam Jędrzejczak, CEO of Danfoss Polska, said that the USA was his company’s biggest market. He pointed that the EU’s winter package was not entirely coherent from the beginning, but looking at the megatred, i.e. the development of green technologies, it could not be stopped. In his opinion, being against this phenomenon may harm the USA. He admitted that the current discussion may refresh the subject of climate in the USA.

According to Tomasz Podgajniak, Vice-President of the Board at the Polish Economic Chamber of Renewable and Distributed Energy (PIGEOR), the most important issue was that the US would limit climate change adaption funds for developing countries. He stressed that in a globalized world mottos like “America first”, or “Europe first” did not make much sense. In his opinion, constructing large capacity units was not sensible because it took too much time and money. At the same time, creating clusters without wind energy was illogical and energy generation from biogas was more expensive. He said that the construction of the C unit at the Ostrołęka Power Plant was useless, but not because large capacity units were not flexible. If such a large unit broke down and went out of use, it would be a disaster for the system. This is why distributed energy sources were an opportunity.

Professor Jan Popczyk from the Institute of Power and System Control at the Silesian University of Technology, said that new technologies should be part of the discussion on climate change. “New regions, such as China, may challenge the US in this aspect,” stated professor Popczyk.

Michał Ajchel, VicePresident of the Management Board at Schneider Electric Polska, said we were witnessing three trends: decarbonization, deregulation and digitalization. He believes that all these constituted an opportunity for economic development also in Poland. The winter package was a way to increase effectiveness. Trump’s decision would not change much in this regard.

Poland is subject to EU policy

Arkadiusz Sekściński, PhD and VicePresident of the Management Board at PGE Energia Odnawialna S.A., stated that the global developments pertained to markets. However, whatever Trump’s decision would be, the world was modernizing and we should tend to Polish businesses. Poland is functioning on the basis of EU policy and what is happening in the US is a distant perspective.

According to Andrzej Piotrowski, Vice-Minister of Energy, we needed to acknowledge the changes that were taking place in Poland. Those include the highest smog pollution and highest energy generation from renewables. He said that in Germany CO2 emissions increased despite Energiewende. This is caused by the fact that the energy system must be backed up. Currently it was impossible to completely transition to renewable energy sources. He added that renewable energy could not exist without subsidies. Windmills were means to an end. The Vice-Minister also stated that America had its own policy that contributed to increased usage of gas, which produces less emissions. In his opinion, innovations and renewable energy sources should not be equated. Poland proposed energy clusters as a stable source. “We already have 50 cluster initiatives. There is a chance to connect local resources in order to achieve local self-sufficiency and create new jobs,” he added.

Piotrowski suggested not giving in to a vision created by some organizations and concerns. He said that power storage could be a chance for renewables and windmills, but today this was a utopian idea. “Clusters offer an opportunity for stable energy output and this is our goal,” he concluded.