Polish nuclear energy lost to local elections. The government probably wants to stop the front of the political struggle for it, which is why it reschedules the decision which is to be made after the election. It is also a kind of a decision – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
First, our information about the closed government meeting, on which the final decision on the Polish nuclear power plant is to be made, was confirmed by the Minister of Energy. Later, we learned that during its decision on the future of the Polish Nuclear Power Program was postponed for the period after the local government elections. Lack of decision is also a decision and a clear signal that will demotivate the industry.
Although the Ministry of energy supports the plan to build a nuclear power plant, the program is feared by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The reason is the upcoming local government elections and the threat of protests around the project. Currently, the construction of any energy infrastructure is controversial, regardless of lack of objective reasons to worry. This was the case with the Kozienice-Ołtarzew power line and could be at the construction of the gas pipeline supplying the Żerań Heat and Power Plant with gas to the new unit. Although the first investment is to increase energy security by closing the ring around Warsaw, and the second to allow reduction of emissions from Żerań, social protests have appeared. The nuclear project has an incomparably greater scale and can actually arouse protests, including abroad. The subject can be criticized in Austria and Germany. Although from the point of view of climate policy the nuclear power would be desirable, it loses with local government policy before the elections planned for 2019. It is also worth remembering that, in spite of the calming signals of government, nuclear energy raises the concerns of the mining trade unions about jobs in Silesia.
The Chancellery of the Prime Minister also recognizes that the nuclear loses in economic terms with the renewable energy conglomerate. The return to energy of this type is visible in the largest state-owned companies from the Polish Energy Group (PGE) and PKN Orlen. We announced it even before the Economic Forum in Krynica. Although there are different opinions in the government – the government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure Piotr Naimski warns against the addictive influence of gas energy, and the minister of energy fears the impact of energy return on Polish mining – the prime minister has the decisive voice. Economic arguments supported by fears about the fate of local government elections had to prevail. It is not known whether the decision to postpone the decision means that the nuclear power plant will come back after the election. Then preparations for the parliamentary elections will start.
Megaprojects must be immune to politics
It was a truism at political science studies that politicians were always preparing for elections and because of that they hesitate to make any decisions. Even more interesting observations are provided by the well-known policy researcher Rafał Matyja in the book entitled “Emergency exit”. In his opinion, leading politicians, regardless of the political option, are guided only by the arguments for the fight for votes, and strategic projects are created on the occasion and or spite of it. Will this be the case with the Polish nuclear power plant?
Investors will probably be disappointed, but when there is another signal they will have to come back, because the Polish project – if it is ever implemented – may be a global tendering pearl. Regardless of the future fate of the Polish nuclear power plant, it seems that this topic is coming to the background. The texts about the lack of decision in this matter can be produced for several years once a week. Although Poland managed to defend against the variability of the mega-project of the LNG terminal in Świnoujście, in the case of the nuclear power, it has not repeated this success yet.