Energy 24 April, 2023 7:35 am   
Anna Moskwa. Fot. Ministerstwo klimatu i środowiska.
COMMENTS: Anna Moskwa

Moskwa: Heat pumps are now part of the My Current program. Poles will produce them in the future (INTERVIEW)

Anna-Moskwa-w-Brukseli-1536×1023 Anna Moskwa in Brussels. Picture by the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

“My Current as a program has worked very well. It is effective and simple, so it will remain as is. The most important novelty in the current edition is the co-financing of heat pumps,” said Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa in an interview with “We are also working on a Polish heat pump factory,” she added. What are the terms of the 5th edition of the My Current program?

Already on Saturday, on Earth Day, at 9.00 am, one can visit the website and … start clicking. That’s when we will start accepting applications for the My Current program (Mój Prąd – ed.). When analyzing the results of the Clean Air program we noticed the number of applications for heat pumps was increasing, so we decided that the My Current program should be expanded. Poles install such pumps on their own in their homes and we were getting more and more questions about whether they will be included in the next edition. Our evaluation confirmed this. It is important that no one is at a disadvantage: those applicants who will apply for PVs can also apply for a heat pump or a solar collector. If someone has already submitted an application or is a beneficiary of My Current, they can send an application and enter a pump in it, for example. We leave the amounts at the current level, i.e. PLN 6,000 for photovoltaics, PLN 8,000 for storage and from PLN 4,400 to PLN 28,500 for a heat pump, depending on efficiency. In addition, 3500 PLN for the collector and 3000 PLN for the energy management system. Support covers up to 50 percent of eligible costs, calculated from February 1, 2020. The amount of funds can reach as much as PLN 58 thousand if a PV application had not been submitted beforehand. My Current as a program has worked very well. It is effective and simple, so it will remain as is. The most important innovation in the current edition is the co-financing of heat pumps.

Where will the funds for the new edition come from?

We will draw funding from different funds depending on how much is needed: from the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Program and national funds, as well as from the REPowerEU programme. Today, the budget for the implementation of this program is up to PLN 955 million, but we assume that this is only a good start. The market is growing impressively. The European Commission also sees this. At a conference in Brussels in March, I presented information on the development of photovoltaics. We presented the My Current program. I was asked about other reasons, beside My Current and the technology being more cost effective, why PV is growing so quickly in Poland. I believe that photovoltaics is in line with the identity of Poles who want to have something of their own, which they will get through their own efforts with some support from the state. So what we are doing is responding to the society’s needs.

Can the Poles also have their own heat pump factories?

We are working on a Polish heat pump factory, because until now we have had mainly such plants from abroad, and the Poles were engaged in assembling these devices. We’re not releasing details yet, but I hope we can reveal them soon.

Does My Current account for inflation?

Last year, we increased the amount of funding. It was the right response to the growing prices. This is respectively PLN 6,000 of co-financing for photovoltaic panels and PLN 16,000 for energy storage, i.e. the amount taking into account inflation. You can see that this translates into increased interest in energy storage. Further analysis shows that autoconsumption is still not sufficient in Poland. A heat pump can be the answer to this challenge as it may create – together with photovoltaics – an autoconsumption system. We know that the past year and various disruptions in the supply chain may have caused extended waiting periods for heat pumps or other installations, but this is also the result of a kind of “boom” from the tip of the previous support scheme. Delays were caused by the fact that a record number of agreements was signed. The previous year was not representative: there was a crisis, a transition, it broke records. 2023 will show how PVs are faring in the new system. The number of calls to the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and to our Ministry is cause for optimism.

When will Poland’s Energy Policy Until 2040 be updated?

We submitted our draft PEP2040 update to the Council of Ministers, but there were also two more energy bills requiring a long debate, which dominated the last Council seating. The priority is legislation, including another update to the energy law, geological law and an act on simplifying environmental investments. At least five acts prepared by our ministry need to be adopted. However, we did not receive any written comments to PEP2040 from the ministries, and it was adopted without comments at the Economic Committee. This document requires several more interdepartmental meetings and a long discussion in the Council of Ministers. It’s difficult stuff. In the update there is no heating, transport or other sectors. It will be the major PEP2040 update that will cover this. This can be difficult for a layman who handles, for example, justice, so it requires an in-depth dialogue. Not everyone immediately understands that the update of the electricity industry in PEP2040 is not about mining or individual mines. However, I am ready for such a discussion and I would be happy to explain all this, and I myself would need some time to understand, for example, the judicial reform. I am open to dialogue.

What is the major update of the Energy Strategy about?

The full update of PEP2040 is included in the act and will be correlated with the revision of the National Energy and Climate Plan resulting from the obligation provided for in the EU regulation. The full update will include other sectors of the economy, including heating and transport. Separately the drafting of a new development scenario for the electricity sector had to urgently take place now, due to the lack of news and investors’ expectations. Comprehensive forecasts in the heating and transport sectors require in-depth analysis due to cross-sectoral impacts. We’ve got the electrical part ready and we’re moving on. The new PEP2040 will be subject to an environmental impact assessment, following a full public consultation. It will be a comprehensive process. I assume we’ll be done by the turn of the year, after the consultations. Much will depend on the current update. Once it is approved, we can integrate the rest. For us, the updates for the electricity sector are final, but if in result of the discussion within the government it turns out that there are remarks that need to be considered, we will implement them, or we will make recalculations, because the document was based on specific assumptions, expert knowledge and an energy market model. We are open to substantive comments.

Will there also be an update of the Polish Nuclear Energy Programme (PPEJ) after numerous declarations by companies about nuclear reactors?

PPEJ really needs an update. In the PEP2040 update, we identified the potential of small nuclear reactors and included the first capacities in 2030. This will result in an update of the PPEJ. I can’t imagine a situation where every time a new idea about capacity appears we need to make an update, because these technologies are so dynamic we’d have to make changes every six months. It is important to accelerate the implementation of all nuclear investments in Poland, both government and private, regardless of the technology chosen by the investor – in the case of the construction of the NPP in Pomerania even by 18 months, and now the facilitation of investments is needed to accelerate the pace even more. These are key issues. PPEJ will be updated to ensure consistency with PEP2040.

The decision-in-principle gives us the opportunity to make a preliminary assessment of the project in terms of state policy objectives as well as the investor and the source of funding. The request for the decision-in-principle will be subject to the opinion of the Internal Security Agency. The nuclear program cannot be updated after every announcement due to a new private sector initiative in nuclear energy. Currently, as part of the PPEJ the state treasury will build two nuclear power plants and the government will carry out all the related tasks enabling the implementation of this program.

When will the main decision on the nuclear power plant in Pomerania be made?

The applications have been submitted. The one associated with the atom in Pomerania is the first. We will ask for the opinion of the Internal Security Agency. I don’t want to give a date because there is still a lot to check. We treat this project as a priority. On the way, we still have an agreement with the contractor, which has to be signed by the summer vacation in 2023, and we stand by this declaration. We are in the process of cross-border consultations. This part is going well for us because we have concluded talks with Germany on this issue. There is only the issue of signing the protocol, but the issues raised were clarified and no major remarks were made. We still need to hold talks with Austria and then complete the consultations. Then an environmental decision has to be issued.

Will we share LNG with our neighbors through the FSRU in the Gulf of Gdańsk?

Our talks with Czechia and Slovakia are advanced. Recently you and I talked about preliminary consultations with Hungary. Now they’re talking to us about specific capacity. We are in general talks with Ukraine, which may take until the end of the war. We are aware the current situation makes it difficult for Ukrainians to make any plans. We give them more and more details, expecting that in the future they will be able to make a declaration

Is the energy crisis over?

At the end of the winter, we can say that the first stage of the energy crisis is over. The war continues, and in Poland we have a maximum gas price, which is a Polish success, which limits the impact of the crisis on Polish wallets. Given the fact that the Germans shut down the atom, I don’t know if the crisis will subside. Germany disrupting the energy security will be a problem for the entire region. Last year, they set a record for lignite production. The same can happen now, if climate change or weather does not significantly support the generation form RES. They have no other method for now, given that they have shut down the atom and contracted too little gas for the huge LNG capacity that they have.