The new Polish government’s energy and climate policy

Are the Norwegian environmental and clean energy technology providers ready to take advantage of the new opportunities emerging on the Polish market?

Distributed, small scale RES (biomass, solar energy and hydropower) and development of efficient combined heat and power generation units some of the winners?

The Norwegian Stand. Photo: Innovation Norway

The Norwegian Stand.
Photo: Innovation Norway


10 Norwegian companies presented their technologies at POL-ECO SYSTEM Fair in Poznan, 27-30 Oct. Eight of these were exhibitors at the national Norwegian stand organized by Innovation Norway (IN). IN organized also the Norway Innovation Day conference at the fair and the companies received great positive attention The fair took place only one day after the parliamentary elections in Poland, in which the former leader on the political scene, centre-right party Civic Platform (PO) was strongly defeated by the conservative “Law and Justice” (PiS) party.

The Norwegian exhibitors at this year’s POL-ECO fair, of whom many already are active on the Polish market offering energy efficient solutions and technologies based soon RES, will be facing soon some changes, which as usual open up new market opportunities. They, as well as other Norwegian companies interested in selling their products and services on the Polish market are recommended to take advantage of the new market trends.

While in opposition, PiS, tended to oppose most of PO’s energy policies and was not eager to support the EU’s 2030 energy and climate targets. Most analysts predict that a new government, which is now being formed, will make Poland’s EU negotiations of energy and climate issues somewhat rougher than they have been so far.

It is expected that PiS will also try to take much more control of the energy sector. The party intends to create a Ministry of Energy. In the former government at least five ministries had different degrees of responsibility and influence in energy issues. The aim of the new ministry will be to keep the energy governance issues in one place, taking over the lead competences in EU and international climate policy from the Ministry of Environment.

According to Eurostat data, around 83% of energy consumed in Poland is produced from black and brown coal. The Polish coal mine sector has recently had very severe problems due to low coal prices and productivity. During the election campaign the miners were promised strong support by PiS, so it is quite clear that the new government will not implement a vast decarbonization policy. “To reach emission goals we don’t have to resign from coal. It is enough to switch to clean coal technologies,” Jerzy Buzek, chair of the ITRE committee in the European Parliament, told “EUobserver”.

The new government intends to improve the condition of the coal mine sector by integrating the mines with the state owned power utilities. This is treated as one of the steps in safeguarding Poland’s energy independence, a very important issue for the new Polish government. Mr. Piotr Naimski, who is the party’s main expert in energy, called coal “The blood in the veins of the Polish economy”.

Interview TV Wlkp Kjell Arne Nielsen and Ewa Kwast IN Warszawa. Photo: Innovation Norway

Interview TV Wlkp Kjell Arne Nielsen and Ewa Kwast IN Warszawa.
Photo: Innovation Norway

Nevertheless, this clear commitment to coal, does not hinder the new government from taking some decarbonization measures. President Andrzej Duda, (also from PiS) not long after assuming office signed the “Anti-Smog-Bill” gradually phasing out all individual coal-based household heating. Furthermore, PiS is much more in favor of distributed, small scale RES and development of efficient combined heat and power generation units, than their predecessors from PO. PiS widely supports prosumerism as an important part of domestic energy production. Apart from wind-power, the most widely developed type of RES in Poland during the recent years, which is criticized a lot by PiS members and which most likely will be subject of restrictions, green light is expected to be given to small scale PV and HP, geothermal solutions, as well as the usage of biomass and biogas, and small scale LPG and LNG solutions.  Most likely the new government will give its support, in line with EU’s requirements, to production and usage of biofuels of 2nd generation.

PiS has also taken into consideration possible going back to the nuclear energy program, which aims at building by the end of 2020s two nuclear plants of 3 GW each, and also to return to the shale gas program, recently abandoned by all major foreign developers. There are voices that simultaneous investment in both channels would be too expensive for the state, so there might be a necessity to suspend one of them. PiS intends to continue diversification of gas sources through expanding the newly constructed LNG terminal (to 7,5 bln m3) and accelerating work with the Baltic Pipe, the pipeline joining Poland with Denmark, allowing gas to be transported from Norway.

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