Winter Package 21 December, 2017 11:00 am   
Editorial staff

Poland is negotiating the winter package. It declares the end of investment in coal after 2025

Poland is negotiating the provisions of the winter package. It accepts proposals from Brussels as balanced and declares its readiness to abandon investments in new coal blocks after 2025. However, it criticizes France’s radical proposals.

Negotiations on the future of energy

On December 18, EU energy ministers are to discuss the four legislative packages that make up the EU package “Clean Energy for Europe and Europeans” called the Winter Package. During today’s meeting a decision may be taken regarding the 550 g/kWh regulation. Poland wants to extend the transition period for coal energy. Some countries, however, want to tighten up the legislation.

The meeting of the Council of the European Union of the Ministers of the Member States responsible for energy is in progress in Brussels. During the proceedings, the ministers are to adopt a general approach regarding the winter package.

No new coal after 2025

According to the Minister of Energy, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, the text of the Council’s general approach proposed nowadays by the Presidency to the market regulation is balanced.

– The matter regulated by this act contains quite a lot of elements for us. The introduction of emission standards for energy production aroused in Poland enormous social emotions. The volume set today in the general approach to the regulation will be a big political problem upon my return to Poland. Nevertheless, in the letter to the Commissioners, I assured that in Poland after 2025, new investments in coal blocks that do not meet the emission standard at the CO2 level of 550 g/kWh will not be taken. Thus, the annual coal consumption in the energy sector will not be increased – the minister emphasized.

French radicalism

Some countries, however, are in favour of increasing this limit, even though the previously proposed level would not allow subsidies for coal-based energy. France has proposed a CO2 limit of 350g/KWh

– In this context, I do not understand France’s proposal regarding 350 g/kWh. In practice, this means that high-emission sources such as diesel engines or lignite that will work, for example: 400 hours per year could be covered by a power mechanism. This will not contribute to the reduction of emissions and will endanger the sufficiency of power. However, the transformation must proceed in a rational manner from the point of view of technological choice, so that it does not pose a threat to the security of electricity supplies – the minister said during the meeting of the Council.

He added that the network code was recently adopted ‘with great effort’, which was a success in building a new single energy market. During the Council meeting, some states of the so-called new EU have proposed to extend the transitional periods for conventional energy from 2025 to 2030.

– We hope that during the talks, we will be able to find an acceptable solution for all parties. Poland supports the positions of Romania and Croatia regarding the extension of the transition period from 2025 to 2030. We also propose to fully reflect the polluter pays principle. I encourage everyone to show good will and adopt a general approach – Minister Tchórzewski emphasized.

Voting on the final text of the general approach is to take place tonight. The general approach defines a joint proposal of all EU countries on the so-called trilog, i.e. negotiations between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.

Winter package

The basis for the winter package is the EU energy and climate policy document adopted by the resolution of the European Council of October 2014. In November 2016, the European Commission presented a draft of EU regulations “Clean Energy for All Europeans” on a package of measures aiming to maintain the competitiveness of the European Union ‘at times when the transition to clean energy changes the global energy markets’.

The basic goals of the so-called winter package include: increased energy efficiency, further development of renewable energy sources, electricity market project and the principles of legal energy order for the European Union. The European Commission does not intend to support energy sources based on fossil fuels. This also applies to support mechanisms of a public aid nature. It is the power market mechanism postulated by Poland, i.e. the dual goods market, where the fee is charged not only for the power consumed, but also its availability in the system. The capacity market in the Polish reality is to support coal-based energy.

Poland sought to modify this provision or transitional periods. At the same time, the energy ministry was able to agree on a capacity market project that was passed by the Sejm. Amendments submitted to the project were proposed by the commission during talks with the Polish government, which is seeking a notification of this solution.

The greatest attention of the Polish energy sector was focused on the provision regarding the level of support for Polish energy under public aid, which is the capacity market. Initially, in the winter package the commission proposed that energy sources with CO2 emission below 550 kg/MWh could participate in the market with the public aid. This could mean switching off the capacity market, coal and brown coal power plants.