Energy 13 July, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Coal first. Space for renewables. Poland has a foundation for its energy mix

The Polish government adopted programs for the brown and black coal industries. They will serve as a reference point for the planned Polish energy mix project.

60 percent of coal in 2030

The Vice-Minister of Energy, Grzegorz Tobiszowski took part in the meeting of the Tripartite Team for Miners’ Social Security and the Tripartite Team for the Brown Coal Sector. The  topics included, among others, the licensing process in the black coal sector, the state’s raw materials policy and assumptions for energy policy.

The minister talked about the assumptions at a press conference. “During the previous meetings with the sector we presented the programs for black and brown coal. The ministry adopted these assumptions. These two documents will become the foundation for the design of the energy mix.”

“Today during the meeting with both communities we presented our assumptions which include the two programs. We mostly presented the future of brown and black coal in our energy mix,” the minister said. This means that coal will play a significant role in the energy mix, i.e. a breakdown of power sources in Poland. Tobiszowski announced that brown and black coal will be producing 60% of power in Poland until 2030. Currently the figure stands at 85% of the energy mix.

In the context of brown coal, then minister mentioned the open-pit mines in Złoczew and Ościsłowo. “The mine in Złoczew should be opened as a concession next year. In Ościsłowo there is a private investor, but we are also considering this open-pit very seriously,” he said about the investments by PGE and ZE PAK respectively.

Space for windmills and nuclear energy 

In the minister’s opinion, there will be space for renewable energy sources in the mix. They should play a complementary role. Whereas nuclear energy may only “potentially” join the mix. Tobiszowski said there was space for it because it would have a complementary role and “was not in collision” with coal. He revealed that he received positive signals regarding this possibility during the negotiations with the European Commission on the capacity market act. Tobiszowski added that gas will be part of the Polish energy mix between 2030-2050.

“Our proposition is to keep investments in renewable energy sources offshore – this pertains to windmills,” Tobiszowski explained. “We are also offering space for clusters and energy cooperatives,” he added.

Increasing demand

According to minister Tobiszowski, Poland’s energy mix will need to include the growing demand for electricity caused by economic development. It should also take into consideration the need to add capacities that will be disconnected from the system. This is about old energy blocks, which due to their age or EU regulations will have to be shut down.

“The old blocks will be shut down and we will have to replace them,” the conference host said. He assessed that Poland’s energy mix will leave some “space” for nuclear energy.

“We are hoping that the response to the assumptions that we have prepared will not encourage new demands. Interestingly enough the winter package was introduced when we were working on the brown coal and black coal programs. The emphasis on gas appeared in the package in an ad-hoc manner,” Tobiszowski said.

The minister stressed that the decisions presented at the conference “opened” the debate on the subject and started the consultation process, which will conclude in presenting Poland’s new energy policy.

Wojciech Jakóbik