Infrastructure / Innovations 7 June, 2018 11:00 am   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

What does electromobility in Poland need? The PKEE Debate (REPORT)

The PKEE E-Mobility Summer Day is going on in Brussels. The event is to promote the Polish electricity sector in the European Union. This year’s theme is electromobility, which was discussed by the participants in the discussion panel organised by the Polish Electricity Association. 

More autonomy

“8 per cent of Poland’s GDP comes from the automotive sector. We are a big player in this sector. Electromobility is a good enabler for the development of various types of business. It is an opportunity for a better and cleaner quality of life” – stressed Marta Gajęcka, advisor to the President of Poland and the Vice President of the Polish electricity Association.

“This also means the security of energy supply, as electromobility significantly impacts the reliance on oil imports. It will help countries like Poland to become less dependent” – she said during the discussion. “In turn, the energy storage brings upon new economic models. It is a revolution for the general public, but also for the business, for the power sector” – she concluded.

“We need a range of incentives. These are provided in the Act on Electromobility: tax breaks, [free] parking spaces, anything providing economic incentives” – enumerated Ms Gajęcka.”In large cities, the city centres could be made open [only] to electric vehicles.

“Coal has been and will for a long time be the pillar of our energy industry. Renewable sources always have to be backed up with stable generation. But the energy transition is already taking place in Poland. We are developing the Renewable Energy Sources. I hope that the PGE will build wind farms in the Baltic Sea” – argued the panellist.

Higher ambitions

“You cannot talk about it with a silo approach. This is an opportunity for growth of diverse industry sectors. With appropriate policy, ambitious goals, we will be able to enter the new economic niches. Talking about energy and transport, about batteries, we have a huge potential. In batteries it is not only about catching up with others, we have to become leaders. In batteries we can overtake others instead of letting ourselves be overtaken by other continents” – argued Miriam Dalli, MEP, responsible for presenting the report on the elimination of the CO2 emissions from the transport sector.

“We will start to export our innovativeness, but it must also benefit our citizens. I do, however, have an impression that some are delaying the changes, causing us to remain in the back” – stated the panellist. “I see no clear justification for such an attitude. I would also like to see the global targets reflected in the European targets.

„I am not expecting the elimination of emitting vehicles by 2030, but clear declarations that will allow reducing the emissions” – declared Dalli. In her opinion, there is no problem of lack of demand for electric cars. She also thinks that industries exiting from the market need to be provided with perspectives for changing their business.

More infrastructures

“The industry sees the electromobility as a key element of a new offering it may present to its customers” – assessed Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of EURELECTRIC. “We are at the beginning of a revolution. Big carmakers will be delivering millions of electric vehicles. Customers may not turn up sufficiently fast in numbers and the infrastructure may not be sufficiently performant. Our job will be to provide the infrastructure and the people will want these cars. However, this will not happen if they will have nowhere to charge them” – he added.

More seriousness

According to Julia Poliscanova, Manager, Clean Vehicles and Air Quality, Poland and Central and Eastern Europe see an increasing import of second-hand combustion powered vehicles. In her opinion, the reaction should be a proposal for their modernisation. “Today’s problem of Europe is that we have a small market for electric cars. And the reason is the limited supply from the automotive sector. Only about 1 per cent of carmakers produce electric vehicles. This shows that they are not really serious about the growth of this part of the market” – said the panellist. According to her, a relevant European policy will provide certainty to electric car makers and the revolution will flourish.

More possibilities

“Consumers want their cars to be as hassle-free to use as up to now. Also, the awareness of the CO2 emissions is growing” – pointed out Saïd El Khadraoui, European Political Strategy Centre. In his opinion, the automotive industry needs some support to be provided. “The changes will be affecting industries and some regions. They need new growth perspectives. This is the reason for the new initiatives by the European Commission, such as smart specialisation or support to mining regions” – said the expert.

“We cannot break apart the sectors” – he echoed MEP Dalli. “The transition process needs the engagement of the energy sector. It will not be possible to transform the transport without changes taking place in the energy generation sector” – he added. He cited as an example the investors demanding electricity supplies from renewable sources, also in Poland.