Polish Briefing 3 August, 2017 9:00 am   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Polish Briefing: PSL calls on the president to veto the renewables amendment

What goes on in Poland on the 3rd of August.

Poll: Germans want more Russian gas

The majority of Germans not only condemn the US sanctions against Russia, but also prefer Russian gas to American LNG, shows a poll conducted for Wintershall, German producer of oil and natural gas. The company supports the construction of Nord Stream 2 and cooperates with Gazprom.

The poll was published at the end of July and was conducted by a company called Forsa. The results show that even though half of Germans support the idea of supply diversification, only 6% would welcome the import of LNG from the United States. It is worth noticing that the LNG import will be possible as late as around 2025, when the German LNG terminal will be completed.

83% of Germans are against US sanctions, which will backfire on German energy companies. Only 7% responded that the criticism of the sanctions is exaggerated. Over 80% of respondents believes that security and economic viability of gas supply is the most important. Every fourth respondent believes that transit states such as Poland, Ukraine or Slovakia should continue earning on gas transit fees.

Norway enjoys the highest reliability as gas exporter (62%). Further on the list in the reliability ranking are Canada with 46%, Russia with 34% despite the fact it stopped gas deliveries in 2009 due to conflict with Ukraine. Iraq and states of Northern Africa (5%) placed last.

When the same survey was conducted in March this year, the USA was considered a reliable gas supplier by 26% of respondents. Within three months the trust towards the US as an energy provider decreased by half. It is believed, this is related to President Donald Trump and his way of doing politics.

Gróbarczyk convinced Nord Stream 2 construction will be halted

“Nord Stream 2 goes against the idea of European energy security,” said Marek Gróbarczyk Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation. He believes that the investment will be halted.

The Nord Stream 2 project is a plan to build a two-line gas pipeline from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. Its capacity will be 55 bcm annually. The pipeline is to be completed by the end of 2019. After that year Russia wants to stop transmitting gas via Ukrainian gas pipelines. Poland, the Baltic States and Ukraine are against this project.

When asked by the Polskie Radio 24 whether Nord Stream 2 construction could be halted, Gróbarczyk said “we are convinced it can.” He stressed that the actions “we have been taking have one goal – to halt the investment, which is harmful for many reasons.”

In his opinion, Nord Stream 2 is against “the EU integration, which has been confirmed in many documents.” According to Gróbarczyk, the new pipeline “goes against the idea of the Union’s energy security, which says that deliveries from one direction cannot be increased.” The minister pointed that “once the other line is constructed, Russia will be able to deliver 50% of Europe’s gas supply to the continent.”

PSL calls on the president to veto the renewables amendment

“We asked President Andrzej Duda to veto the amendment to the Act on renewable energy sources because it destroys renewable energy, blocks its development and Poland’s opportunities for energy independence,” Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz leader of the PSL opposition party said on Wednesday at a press conference in the Sejm.

In his opinion today “we are not adhering to any terms, norms which we promised to meet, and we will not achieve them before 2020.”

“Let me remind you that 15% of energy in 2020 should be produced from renewable energy sources. We will not meet this standard because the devastation, ruination of natural, green, renewable energy by PiS is unbelievable,” Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

“It’s like with the Białowieża Forest. In this case we are also facing millions in penalties, which will be imposed day after day,” the leader of PSL added.

According to Kosiniak-Kamysz, the Minister of Environment “has completely failed” when it comes to the situation in the Białowieża Forest and renewables. He stressed that if Prime Minister Beata Szydło wanted to show she was “a real prime minister,” she should dismiss the head of the Ministry of Environment.

In July the Sejm adopted an amendment to the Act on renewables. Its main premise is to do away with the fixed value of the so-called alternative fee and link it to market prices of certificates awarded for producing green energy from certain renewable energy sources.

Poland applied to move EU’s EBA and EMA to Warsaw

The Ministry of Finances announced Poland submitted an offer to move the headquarters of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Warsaw.

“The application to locate the seats of EBA and EMA in Poland has been approved by the Council of Ministers on 28 July 2017. The offer fulfills all of the detailed criteria approved by the European Council,” the press release said.

Once all of the offers are submitted by Member States, the European Commission will analyze them and present its assessment by the end of September this year. The decision on the location of both agencies will be made through a vote by EU Member States (without Great Britain) on 20 November on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council. The procedure provides for a maximum of three stages of voting.

Currently the seats of EBA and EMA are in London. This needs to change because of Brexit in 2019.

Energa’s CEO: amendment to Act on Renewables regulates the green certificate market

In an interview for the Puls Biznesu daily, Daniel Obajtek Energa’s President of the Management Board denied he had any influence on the amendment to the Renewables act. He also commented on the objections to the bill made by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (URE).

Energa’s CEO pointed to the fact that the amendment was proposed by members of parliament and was supposed to change the situation on the market of certificates of origin for renewable energy. “The project should be  considered together with the Minister of Energy’s decision on increasing the responsibility to purchase green certificates in 2018 in relation to 2017 (…) It will increase the prices of origin certificates, whereas the amendment to the Renewables act ensures the increase will affect the consumers to a smaller degree. Understanding the changes only as particular interests of energy concerns and long-term contracts on the purchase of green certificates is wrong,” Obajtek explained to the daily.

He also commented on the criticism of the amendment made by the President of URE, Maciej Bando, who believes the change of regulations would help energy trading companies, which are part of state-controlled energy concerns obliged to fulfill the so-called renewable energy duty, and which signed contracts for the purchase of origin certificates at the prices based on the alternative fee. According to Obajtek the Act on renewables had not been updated because of the interests of energy concerns. “The reality is that the act regulates the green certificate market. The replacement fee calculated as 125% of the certificate price is a good change together with the minister’s regulation on increasing the duty to purchase green certificates. I am surprised the URE President failed to notice the wider context of this amendment,” he stated.