Poland is calling for the EU to become energy independent and wants its recovery plan for the energy sector to facilitate innovative technologies, including hydrogen generation – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief at BiznesAlert.pl.
Poland wants the EU recovery plan to support energy transition
BiznesAlert.pl has learned about Poland’s position on the EU crisis measures that will boost the EU economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Poland wants energy projects to continue and climate policy funds to support the modernization of the energy sector.
Poland expects the situation in the energy sector to worsen due to the coronavirus. “Our efforts should focus on sustaining an uninterrupted energy supply and completing key projects in order to limit the pandemic’s impact on the goals we need to achieve in the coming decade, especially the interim targets until 2022 and 2025,” says the document dated 16 April. According to its authors the state of the energy sector will be of great importance to the health and wellbeing of European societies.
This is why Poland wants additional funding and guarantees for Projects of Common Interest that are important for achieving the 2050 EU climate neutrality goal, those include endeavors with the participation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Poland also demands that the requirements for grants and European loans should be relaxed, and wants the developmental differences between energy sectors of the member states to be considered. Warsaw also expects the public help rules to be adjusted in order to ensure a high number of investments that will provide the necessary generation capacity. Poland also wants the EU to take action to limit unfair competition from outside of the Union that may use the possible bankruptcies, mergers and take-overs that may take place in result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Warsaw calls for the EU to not forget that dependence on fossil fuels cannot be replaced with a dependency on components necessary to develop renewable energy sources. BiznesAlert.pl has written about this risk, which could be tackled by a diversified portfolio of components used for renewable energy technologies. “So far the pandemic has impacted the solar, wind energy and hydropower sectors, but we cannot rule out it will also affect other technologies,” the authors of the document argue. This is why Poland wants to introduce a tax on carbon footprint at the EU border, use money from emission allowances trading to bankroll energy transition and, among others, invest in the Power-to-X technology and electromobility. Warsaw also wants the EU Battery Alliance to develop “a sovereign value chain in Europe that will provide resources that will allow us to produce strategic and clean energy solutions, i.e. hydrogen, PV and wind farms.” Poles call for focusing on technologies that foster climate neutrality and in this context enumerate hydrogen technologies, electromobility, and energy storage. The authors do not forget about the poorest among us. They want compensation for the costs of climate policies for those citizens who have been affected by the energy transition the most, and they want support for employees from energy-intensive industries who will need to change jobs.
Contributing to negotiations
Poland’s position on the EU recovery measures was prepared by the ministry of climate. It is the baseline for negotiations with other EU member states. It shows the importance of energy sovereignty, i.e. a situation where one is independent of external energy sources. The term was coined by Piotr Naimiski, the current Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure. This term acquires new meaning at the European level, especially in the context of Europe’s dependence on components necessary for developing renewables that are imported from China. It is also important in view of the differences between hydrogen technologies, which – in case of blue hydrogen – may create a new dependence on hydrogen imports from high-risk countries, or – in case of green hydrogen – ensure independence from imports and a stabilization of the renewable energy sector. Poland’s moderate and open position is constructive and is a good starting point for creating alliances in the European Council with the biggest players.