Energy 12 July, 2023 7:30 am   

Unions want to negotiate Poland’s energy strategy in the streets before the election

zwiazkowcy Nation-wide Protest and Strike Committee of Energy-Mining, Energy-Related and Heating Companies

A group of trade unions from the energy sector will go to Warsaw on July 14 to fight for a specific shape of Poland’s energy transition. They want the Climate Minister to defend coal and they are reminding the government the promises made by the United Right coalition (ruling coalition in Poland).

The Nation-Wide Protest and Strike Committee of Energy-Mining, Energy-Related and Heating Companies-has sent a letter to the Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa, in which it demands a revision of the energy strategy, that is, the Energy Policy of Poland until 2040. The government has prepared the PEP2040 update with a greater share of renewable energy sources and a smaller participation of coal. The draft was reported on by the media, but it has not yet been adopted by the government due to disputes in the United Right coalition, between Law and Justice and Sovereign Poland.

“Today we are no longer asking – but we are sternly demanding changes in the country’s existing energy policy. The geopolitical situation shows us that the most important guarantor of energy security is the reliance of the economy on its own resources, with a specific strategy for the use of our domestic coal,” the trade unionists wrote in the letter to the Minister. “Today, as employees and residents, we note with horror the lack of a concept, as well as a rational plan for the Polish economy, for the Polish rationality of the state. Uncertainty in our energy companies related to the lack of guarantees and decisions on the restoration of capacity, liquidation resolutions adopted by the management boards of companies – related only to the economic aspect of the functioning of the blocks after 2025, as well as the lack of guarantees of livelihood for the regions in the next few years, have a completely destabilizing impact,” the letter goes on.

The government announced the creation of the National Energy Security Agency that will take over the coal production assets of energy companies. Poland is also negotiating the extension of the capacity market support from 2025 to 2028.

“Unfortunately, today we all pay for the fact that no one listened and still does not listen to advisers in the field of energy, people with knowledge and acting in the public interest. For ignorance and the continued lack of strategic decisions related to the stabilization of the national energy system, we will all pay soon, during the winter period with restrictions on the availability of heat and energy, increases in energy and heat prices, and all the necessary items for life,” the unions warned.

The authors of the appeal demand, among other things, the launch of lignite mining from the Złoczew deposit (an abandoned investment of the Polska Grupa Energetyczna) and the implementation of the Bloki 200+ research program of the National Research and Development Center to extend the operation of old coal-fired power plants with a capacity of 200 MW per unit. “In case of Jaworzno such a decision must be made for all of the units to guarantee the stable functioning and better flexibility of the power system in relation to the grid demands,” the authors of the letter said.

“The platform of the United Right guaranteed stabilization for domestic industry and industrial regions. We continue to demand firm action to keep your word on what has been and is promised. We demand concrete, not empty promises, because what is destroyed will never be rebuilt. Today, without key decisions, without any idea, without economic and social justification, we are losing our energy sovereignty, thereby eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs, leading to the impoverishment of many regions in Poland, ” the trade unions argued in the letter, referring to the United Right’s platform.

Meanwhile, the Tauron Wytwarzanie Kontra Trade Union Association invites everybody to a demonstration under the slogan: the time of promises has come to an end! It will take place on July 14 at 9.00 am in front of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, from where the protesters are to go to the Ministry of State Assets, the Sejm, the headquarters of PGE and the headquarters of Law and Justice.

Parliamentary elections in Poland will be held in October 2023. The date has not been announced yet.

Wojciech Jakóbik