Polish Briefing 18 January, 2019 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: Can carbon footprint certification threaten Polish industry?

What goes on in Poland on the 18th of January.

The wind is competitive towards coal

Green energy from the wind as a remedy for the problems of rising energy prices and a decline in the competitiveness of the Polish economy? The Polish Wind Energy Association claims that it is possible and gives examples.

Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Association, stressed that the industry was the first to experience a sharp increase in wholesale energy prices, as a result of an increase in the coal market and increase in prices for the purchase of CO2 emission allowances. – Industry is looking for an alternative. Some companies build wind farms and solar farms themselves, while others want to buy green energy under long-term contracts. Both options will result in a lasting and not only interventional reduction of energy bills for them – added Gajowiecki. He said that the average price of energy is PLN 196 per MWh, and for a new coal block it is about PLN 350/MWh.

Carbon footprint and competitiveness of the Polish economy

The President of the Wind Energy Association reminded that the European Union is aiming at marking products with a carbon footprint. – This is a threat to Polish industry, and Polish goods may lose their competitiveness. Production plants are already sending us a signal that they are afraid of it. At this point, energy from the wind is the cheapest one we can produce – said Gajowiecki.

He stressed that offshore wind energy is also an opportunity which is becoming more and more competitive, and in its case the reduction of costs from coal generated energy is about 60 percent, but in the perspective of several dozens of years, still onshore wind energy will be the basis for generation energy from RES – he stressed. He added that the technology race is currently underway, as a result of which the breakthrough occurred, because 5 MW wind farms were created, which in his opinion is comparable to the wind energy efficiency of sea. – This encourages the industry to conclude PPAs, i.e. long-term contracts for the purchase of electricity. They are already “banking” and are slowly operating without subsidies. Unfortunately, there are legislative restrictions. Today, companies bear full transmission and distribution costs for distribution network operators, in addition, there is no possibility of concluding contracts between the producer and the energy recipient without the participation of an intermediary, ie an energy trading company. Neither is it possible to obtain the consent of the Energy Regulatory Office for the construction of its own transmission line, connecting the power plant with the collection point – emphasized Gajowiecki. He added that the trading company, wind power producer and VSB have already signed a contract for the purchase of energy under the PPA with the Mercedes engine factory in Jaworzno and, as he stressed, it was the first such agreement in Europe concluded with the automotive concern.

Another positive example of an enterprise that wants to focus on green energy can be International Paper from Kwidzyn. Vice-president Aneta Muskała emphasized during the conference that within 2 years they managed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 22 percent. Production based on green energy is a necessity for International Paper, as as many as 60 percent of its products are exported, where a lot of attention is paid to the certification, indicating that the producer cares about the environment. Muskała emphasized that the amount of excise tax on energy has now been reduced, but the compensation for the costs of CO2 emission allowances is still not there. Of the 15-20% of the energy we buy, we can consider buying part of it as part of the PPA, instead of building our own biomass block – she added.