Polish Briefing 13 March, 2023 7:30 am   
COMMENTS: Joanna Słowińska

Polish Briefing: Poland continues tough atomic talks with the US l PGE breaks power generation record from renewables

Polska-USA-atom U.S.-Poland nuclear talks. Poland's Minister of Climate and US Ambassador to Poland Picture by Ministry of Climate and Environment

What goes on in Poland on the 13th of March.

Poland continues tough atomic talks with the US

The U.S. ambassador to Poland visited the Ministry of Climate and Environment. The negotiations on the terms of cooperation in the construction of Poland’s first nuclear power plant are ongoing. The Westinghouse dispute with the Korean KHNP looms in the background.

The Climate Ministry has informed the meeting was held to discuss the model of cooperation in the construction the nuclear power plant in Pomerania at the Lubiatowo-Kopalino location.

The technology will be provided by U.S.’s Westinghouse (AP1000), while Bechtel, also an American company, may become the main contractor for the construction. However, it has not yet been determined whether and to what extent these American companies will engage capital-wise in Polish Nuclear Power Plants in accordance with the provisions of the Polish Nuclear Energy Program. The other issue that is still up in the air is the engagement of American financial institutions, such as ESIMBANK, which depends on the political factor represented by Ambassador Brzeziński.

Nuclear energy was also discussed during the recent visit of President Joe Biden to Poland. The media have reported that Westinghouse sued Korea’s KHNP, as the Americans believe that the Koreans want to use their technology to build an NPP in Poland as part of a “private” project in cooperation with Poland’s PGE and ZE PAK. KHNP rejects this accusation and argues that the APR1400 is Korean. The case went to arbitration.

On March 7, PGE and ZE PAK signed a preliminary agreement to establish a company that will negotiate with KHNP the contract for bulding an NPP in Pątnów. The U.S. Ambassador visited the Climate Ministry on March 10.

Poland wants to have the first reactor in 2033 and 6-9 GW in 2043. The original plan included six AP1000 reactors in two locations. However, at this point, apart from Americans, Poland is talking to KHNP about a “private project”, and to the French about their potential participation in building an NPP in another location. Originally, the Polish Nuclear Energy Program said all reactors will be built in one technology one after another to ensure the economies of scale.

PGE breaks power generation record from renewables

PGE reports that in 2022, renewable energy production reached a record level of 1,931 GWh – 5.3 percent more than a year earlier. This allowed the company to cover the demand of 860 thousand household with power from RES alone.

“Energy from renewable sources is not burdened with CO2 emissions, which are increasing year by year, thus raising the cost of energy production. As a result, the green transition ensures more favorable electricity prices, but also Poland’s energy security and independence, which we are gradually increasing thanks to new production capacities based on wind, water and the sun. According to the adopted strategy, by 2030 PGE will have 3 GW of capacity in photovoltaic power plants, 1.7 GW in onshore wind power plants and 2.5 GW in offshore wind power in the Baltic Sea,” said Wojciech Dąbrowski, President of PGE.

The group has 24 PV power plants, some of which are still under construction. By the end of 2023 they will all be able to generate about 500 MW. PGE also produces green energy at 20 wind farms across Poland, which have 342 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 772 MW. The company also owns 29 hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity 96 MW, and 4 pumped storage power plants with a total capacity of 1,543 MW.