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Coal Energy 30 May, 2018 11:00 am   

Decarbonisation in Poland may look like in Germany

By 2030, the share of coal in energy production may fall by half with no harm for the stability of supply – said the president of German Bundesnetzagentur Jochen Homann in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. However, in order for this to happen, new gas blocks must be connected to the network. BiznesAlert.pl talked about it with the CEO of the think tank WiseEuropa, dr. Maciej Bukowski.

The federal government has set up a coal mining committee to develop a plan for the decarbonisation of German energy sector. This is a major task in achieving the climate goals set for 2030.

In an interview with BiznesAlert.pl, the head of the WiseEuropa think tank, Dr. Maciej Bukowski, argues that the German plan to move away from coal does not seem to be in danger. – Germany is pursuing the Energiewende strategy with full consistency, i.e. an agenda for changing the energy system in a low-carbon direction. The point is not whether the goal will be achieved exactly on the date set, or a year earlier or later. The most important is the approximate pace, direction of changes and the target point, and these seem to be well defined for Germany. The current problems of our western neighbor with meeting the 2020 emission reduction targets result from the accelerated decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Very rapid development of RES was enough to counterbalance Germany’s withdrawal from nuclear energy, but it was too slow for the previously set reduction targets to remain unchallenged – said Maciej Bukowski.

Germany is currently producing electricity at 40 percent from coal. The question arises whether it is possible to reduce its share in the energy mix by half. – It is as possible as possible. The United Kingdom has shown that it can be done even in 5 years. In the islands, coal practically disappeared in the energy balance in this period. The development of renewable energy and the replacement of coal with gas as regulatory sources can significantly reduce emissions and demand for coal in a short time – added Mr Bukowski.

Can Germany’s path be an example for Poland? – In the long term, it is probably the only reasonable direction for our energy industry. Its modification could possibly be an investment in nuclear energy working on the basis of the system instead of the current lignite. However, this is not necessary. Both countries have similar conditions that allow them to use energy from the wind or sun in a similar way – said the interlocutor of BiznesAlert.pl.

– Poland does not have access to the North Sea, but it has a long Baltic coast with satisfying wind conditions. Similarly to Germany, we also have extensive, relatively uninhabited areas in northern Poland, which are a good platform for windmills and solar power plants located on land. We can also learn from Germany – if a solution works well with them, it will probably work well with us. The development of renewable energy may therefore proceed according to the same pattern, especially since we are doing a lot to diversify our gas supplies, and energy companies are investing more and more boldly in new power fired with this fuel, whose role is to support the energy system with a much larger than today RES share – added Bukowski.

– This is not an accident, as policymakers realize that Polish coal is gradually coming to an end. The horizon of existence of active opencasts of brutal coal is 2030 – 2035. Coal mining has a slightly longer perspective of activity that probably extends to the 1940s of our century, but it will happen with gradually decreasing mining. For many years, this is already happening, which has recently translated into a noticeable increase in imports of black fuel from Russia. The question is not whether, but at what pace Poland will be moving away from coal replacing it with renewable sources that do not require the import of raw materials from abroad – argued our interviewee at the end.



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