As part of our series of interviews with the 2020 presidential candidates we have talked to Robert Biedroń, a candidate representing the Left party. “Renewable energy sources should be the primary choice for replacing the outgoing coal-generated power. It should be a top priority to unblock investments in onshore wind turbines, prepare a legislative package to develop offshore wind farms and continue promoting prosumer installations,” the candidate argues.
BiznesAlert.pl: What will be the biggest challenges for our next president with regard to Poland’s energy sector?
Robert Biedroń: The main challenge will be to design a new energy strategy after the coronavirus epidemic and the economic crisis. The entire economy will be forced to change some paradigms, the energy sector included.
What are the priorities of your energy policy?
The main priority will be to reach an agreement on Poland’s energy policy until 2040 among all parties. This policy needs to be co-created by all parliamentary parties in Poland. This is extremely important, because it will make it possible for the plan to be implemented regardless of who holds the majority in the parliament.
What is your position on constructing a nuclear power plant in Poland?
I am skeptical about investments that are worth billions and whose impact will be visible in about 15 years. In my opinion all decisions in this matter should be preceded by a debate that leads to a consensus among all political parties . Otherwise we will find ourselves in the same situation as after 2010, when Donald Tusk’s government established the PGE EJ 1 company. Later on the plans were abandoned, then revived after 7 years and now again buried.
What should be the share of coal in Poland’s energy mix?
In the 2030s the shrinking lignite deposits will anyway cause a 9 GW decline in coal-generated power. In our opinion the government has not proposed any real solutions to fill in that gap. Plans to build new open cast mines are just wishful thinking, both because of the opposition of local communities and because of the profitability of such endeavors. At the same time, the power plants that are running on coal today are getting older, so they need to be replaced. Renewable energy sources should be the primary choice for replacing the outgoing coal-generated power. It should be a top priority to unblock investments in onshore wind turbines, prepare a legislative package to develop offshore wind farms and continue promoting prosumer installations.
How should we solve the problem of growing energy prices for households?
After the crisis we will need a lot of investments. Let’s invest in photovoltaic installations for households and other kinds of dispersed generation, including prosumer networks. Energy production by individuals will decrease external demand, which will cause a drop in spending on electricity.
Should Poland join the European effort to limit CO2 emissions as part of the European Green Deal?
Poland’s stubborn opposition is costing us billions of Euros. Participating in the Green Deal is not only about a better future once the plan is implemented, it’s also about bigger funds here and now.
What is your position on a gas deal with Russia after the Yamal contract expires in 2022? Should we carry on buying Russian gas or give it up altogether?
The decision on this should depend on new contracts and the outlook for supplies to the gas terminals in Świnoujście and Gdańsk.
Interview by Mariusz Marszałkowski