Defence Policy

Polish Energy Policy Until 2050 - Nuclear Energy Replaces Coal; End Of The Shale Revolution

Ministry of Economy published a project which defines the Polish energy policy for the period until 2050. The project is going to be a subject of public and inter-ministerial consultations (these processes are scheduled to be completed until 18th September this year). Firstly, the initiative assumes that coal’s role would be limited. Secondly, Poland would create a nuclear power plant. Thirdly the new policy would mark the end of the “shale revolution”.

The document assumes that the role of coal in the Polish energy mix is going to be gradually limited. By 2050, coal-based energy is going to cover only 28% of the Polish needs, when it comes to the primary energy, and it would be used in case of 33% of total amount of the produced electricity. The vision here is quite loosely tied with the official statements of the government, referring to the primary meaning of the coal resources. Even though it would be still the main source of energy, devaluation of its meaning in the predictions is quite well pronounced. The doubts may also arise from the fact, whether the coal contribution was not overestimated. The assumptions of the new strategy, all of which are going to be implemented until 2050, claim that the EU is going to maintain the directions of the climatic policy, however no predictions have been made, according to which that policy would be stricter. Any tendencies within that scope seem to suggest that reduction of CO2 emission is going to be continued by the European nations.

When asked about the issue, Polish ex-Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Janusz Steinhoff, stated that the “2050 vision of the Polish energy Policy is currently in the phase of negotiations, it is not an official document, however, referring to the presented data one should be aware that until 2050, without investment in the coal mines sector, we would have to face great difficulties in maintaining the current proportions”. The expert adds that “climatic policy and potential development of technology which could make it possible to intercept and store the CO2 is equally important.”

No matter what the final rate of coal energy production is going to be, finding a second pillar for the energy mix would be an unavoidable necessity. According to the government, this pillar would be provided by the nuclear energy, which would constitute 19% of the overall energy production. The strategy claims that a nuclear power plant in Poland would be possible to be created (which is important in the light of the reports related to another delay of the investment – it is said we’ll have to wait another 4 years), while after 2035, eventual profitability of expansion of the plant (or new facilities) would be assessed. Besides implementation of proper supervision over the contractor and the sector of the power-plant, the government is also going to develop, by 2018, a mechanism which would support the entrepreneurs interested in the initiative (e.g. in the differential contract). A project which would assume a priority for the nuclear energy transmission, pertaining the energy produced in Poland, is also going to be prepared.

Another element of the energy mix, as defined by the strategy, is the natural gas which is going to be responsible for covering 18% of the primary energy needs and 9% of electricity. The gas’s role would be to stabilize the peak periods involving the renewable energy sources (wind- and water-driven power-plants). This information is particularly important within the context of the problems related to energy access that were faced by Poland recently, in the light of the record-breaking heat. The natural gas is going to come from the national sources (conventional gas) and from import sources. Import is going to be realized via the LNG terminal and, should a need arise, through trans-border connections realized with the help of the European Union.

The governmental data on shale gas and oil is also quite interesting. The level of exploitation is going to be “close to the current one” until the end of the period until 2050. This means that “shale revolution” in Poland is going to be killed. When asked about that issue, Piotr Woźniak, who is the ex-head geologist of the country, acting as the undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Environment that defining the issue in this way is “off-putting for any investor we could get”. 

Until 2018, the Ministry of Economy is planning to estimate the status of the unconventional deposits, and carry out legislative works, the purpose of which would be to make the life of the investors easier. This situation is quite ridiculous in the light of the fact that such operations have been executed for a couple of years now, and in the light of the fact that the carbohydrate act was not adopted.

When it comes to the renewable energy sources in the national energy mix planned to be used until 2050, the level is going to be maintained, as planned, until 2020, without further deepening. The potential increase after 2020 is not going to be a result of implementation of the additional tools for support. In other words, the authorities are not going to support the said initiatives, creation of which would be a domain of the private companies (possibly involving the state treasury to some extent). The ultimate contribution of the renewable sources, the aim of which is to meet the energy needs of the country, is going to constitute 16% and 33% for the produced energy.