Energy 14 September, 2023 7:30 am   

Jakóbik: The general election is just around the corner. Parties agree on nuclear power, but are divided over climate.

Sejm The Sejm. Picture by

All election committees of parties that stand a chance to enter the new Sejm, as predicted in current polls, have declared their support for nuclear energy. Other than that, they differ in their approach to climate policy and renewables – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief at

The DoRzeczy weekly published a survey conducted by Estymator on 8 and 9 September just five weeks before the general election. The ruling Law and Justice party is leading the poll as part of the United Right coalition with a 37.6 percent support. This is an increase of 1.7 percent in comparison to a poll from late August. The Civic Coalition has 29.1 percent support, which is 1.1 percentage points fewer than before. The Confederation gets 11.2 percent, down by 1.5 percentage points. The Third Way which is a merger of Poland 2050 and the Polish People’s Party has 9.8 percent (-0.6 percentage points). The Left closes with 8.9 percent of the vote and an increase of 0.2 percentage points.

The ruling party bids on continuing its policies

The so-called eight specifics proposed by the Law and Justice, which serve as the central postulates of this party, do not apply to energy and climate policy. However, the party’s 300-page program titled “Secure Future for Poles” published on September 9, includes specifics about the energy sector. Law and Justice proposes the continuation of the Clean Air and My Current programs promoting the energy transition in the heating and energy sectors. These programs offer co-financing of energy and heat sources and have contributed to the rapid development of PV and non-coal heating in Poland. The party also promises to build the first wind farms in the Baltic Sea by 2030. It is worth noting that according to the original plans the first wind farms were supposed to have popped up on the Polish sea already in 2025 and they are to be continued by the state-owned companies Orlen and the PGE Group.

The ruling party has also promised support for electric public transport and investments in charging stations in major cities. The party leaders have also announced the creation of a Ministry of Industry in Silesia. It is unclear whether this particular point has been snatched from their main rival. The Law and Justice wants to continue its policies, especially that they have resulted in gigwatts of capacity thanks to My Current and Clean Air. The party’s program does not mention the EU energy policy, despite the fact that the current government wants to veto the most ambitious bits of the climate policy from the Fit for 55 package, which may differentiate it from the main opposition party.

The ruling party promises to continue the delayed reform of the allocation of coal assets to the National Energy Security Agency, the nuclear program with the Americans in Pomerania, with the Koreans in Greater Poland and throughout the country using SMR technology. Law and Justice also promises to modernize and expand transmission and distribution networks, without which it will not be possible to integrate renewable sources. The ruling party also announced the elimination of energy poverty and the continuation of protection programs. It does not specify whether it will abandon them after the end of the energy crisis, which would be advisable from the point of view of the budget.

The Civic Coalition wants to speed things up and make the current government accountable

One of the 100 postulates proposed by the Civic Coalition is opening a Ministry of Industry located in Silesia, which is similar to what their biggest opponents have promised. The Coalition also calls for the creation of at least 700 locally producing energy communities to sell power surpluses, which could mean changing the rules on prosumer energy, which under the current conditions cannot resell surpluses of energy, but only settle them.

The Coalition also announced a fight against “burning forests in Polish power plants”, and therefore probably the use of biomass in the energy sector, which is the focus of some projects in the sector. An important demand from the energy point of view is to unlock EU funds for the National Reconstruction Plan. The current government has planned PLN 22 billion worth of energy investments from this source, such as an offshore installation port in Gdańsk, but a dispute with the EU over the rule of law is blocking the money.

The Coalition also proposes to “make accountable” the parties engaged in the Ostrołęka power plant construction project and the Orlen-Lotus merger. Ostrołęka was supposed to have a new, third coal unit, then converted to gas, but the project did not start, although Ostrołęka C Power Plant was originally supposed to produce the first energy in 2023. The coalition is promising to cut CO2 emissions by 75 percent by 2030, a goal some analysts say is impossible to achieve, as it is higher than the EU’s target of at least 55 percent. The main opposition party also promises to freeze gas prices in 2024 at the level from 2023, which can also be expected from the ruling party. In addition, it is an illiberal postulate that stands out among other, more liberal ones. The Coalition promises to accelerate the development of RES and the atom, to create a model for financing nuclear energy. The fact is that the current two-term ruling team has not created such a model, but it promises to consult the European Commission in September. The coalition also wants to further liberalise the distance act by changing the minimum distance between onshore wind farms and residential buildings from the current 700m to 500m. This is a response to the ruling party’s complete change of mind, which had initially prepared legislation implementing 500 meters, but due to a difference of opinion within the ruling coalition decided on 700 meters, surprising the industry it had previously consulted on the original idea. The coalition also promises to donate 5 percent of the proceeds from the sale of onshore wind energy to local communities.

The Confederation announces a counter-revolution

The Confederation proposes an entire chapter of its program entitled Poland Full of Energy. It opposes the closure of good quality coal mines and coal-based energy. It is against the implementation of the EU’s energy and climate policy as a threat to Poland’s energy security and a process that “we cannot afford”. The Confederation opposes importing installations for the construction of wind and solar power plants, nuclear fuel and gas. It believes the current energy transition program is import-dependent and aims to eliminate coal-fired power generation, making Poland vulnerable to energy blackmail.

The Confederation proposes instead a separate energy transition path by challenging the climate and energy package and negotiating a discount on CO2 emissions reductions. In this it is diametrically opposed to the Civic Coalition, which has promised the greatest acceleration of emissions reduction. The Confederates propose to maintain coal mining at the current level, develop technologies for the capture and storage of CO2, and produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels with its use. They also call for coal gasification.

The Confederation questions the importance of renewable energy sources for ecology and proposes the development of geothermal energy by removing administrative barriers and creating a geothermal program, as well as the withdrawal of subsidies for renewable sources. It is worth noting that Poland has good conditions for geothermal heating, but it is not as efficient for power generation. Renewables should be developed locally and balanced on location. The Confederation also calls for the polonization of nuclear technologies and independent production of nuclear fuel in Poland, as well as the development of biogas plants.

The Third Way wants to go green

The Third Way election committee, founded by Poland 2050 and the Polish People’s Party, mentions “energy for citizens” among its six guarantees for Polish people. Green energy is supposed to give income to entrepreneurs and municipalities by reducing energy bills in neighborhoods where renewable energy sources are developed. Energy from these sources is to be sold on the spot thanks to the reform of the promsumer system. The Third Way is to focus on the development of photovoltaics, onshore wind farms and biogas. To this end, it intends to unlock the resources of the National Reconstruction Plan. It should be noted that the approach of this party to nuclear energy is not clear. One of the leaders, Szymon Hołownia, changed his position on this issue.

The Left wants to subsidize

The Left, formed from the merger of the Democratic Left Alliance and the Spring, together with the Polish Socialist Party and the Labour Union put forward a program related to the European Green Deal. They want to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, subsidies for energy bills and heat. This is a statist proposal and the most far-reaching one in comparison to other parties, as the other ones have not said how long the subsidies introduced during he energy crisis should last.

The Left also proposes up to 100 percent subsidies for the replacement of heating sources in low-income households. It also promises to unlock the National Reconstruction Plan that is important for the energy sector, like the Civic Coalition. It is worth adding that the programme declaration of the Together Party belonging to the Left electoral committee, includes an entire chapter on energy called Green Transformation for the Future. The chapter describes the Left’s vision for the energy sector: lowering CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030, climate neutrality in Poland by 2050, employment guarantees for miners and people working in the energy sector after the transition without cutting their pay. This is a specific reference to the reform of the mining sector with the most far-reaching social program. The Together also proposes a concrete plan for adapting to climate change and extreme weather events.

Nuclear power connects, renewables and climate divide

In conclusion, all electoral committees support nuclear energy. The Liberal opposition wants to release the funds of the National Reconstruction Plan. The ruling party seems to be in the middle of the spectrum in terms of EU policy – between the optimistic Civic Coalition and the Left and the skeptical Confederates. The core of the differences concerns the pace of the energy transition and the attitude towards renewable energy sources, in which Law and Justice is again in the middle between liberals demanding accelerating the growth of green energy sources and the Confederation offering geothermal support in return. Therefore, those who monitor the energy sector have a lot to choose from in the 2023 parliamentary elections.