The threat of blackout is growing. Poland without an idea for energy transformation (REPORT)

Luc Williams

In the latest, seventh edition of the report “Energy transformation in Poland”the Energy Forum (FE) indicated that pressure on changes in the energy sectoron which development will depend Polish GDPis growing, and “the energy transformation in Poland has no helmsman.”

Dependent on imported coal

“There is one center that is missing would manage this process, which is why the changes taking place take place in chaos. Poland never got it a comprehensive vision of decarbonizing the economy or plan to reduce dependence on energy resources imported from abroad” – emphasized the authors of the report.

It was indicated that currently, when Ministry of Climate and Environment is developing a new one National Energy and Climate Planis the best time to designate “clear” direction of transformation. “This is necessary to prepare society and companies for the upcoming changes, important for directing investments, mobilizing business, reducing energy costs and properly planning expenses,” FE experts said.

Investments in the energy sector are essential

“Safe and sustainable electricity supplies are a condition for the electrification of the entire economy,” emphasized Joanna Pandera, president of Forum Energii, quoted in the report. In her opinion, it is becoming a huge challenge mobilizing investments – both in energy companies and by private investors, including households.

“Decision-makers miss the fact that energy is for people and this complicated puzzle must be arranged in such a way as to provide fair and transparent information about real costsbut also the challenges associated with reducing emissions and energy security in a very volatile and unstable world,” Pandera emphasized.

Polish energy is the cheapest in the EU

According to the FE report, taking into account all taxes and levies, in the first half of 2023, the price of electricity in Poland for households was 19.9 eurocents/kWh, that's 56 percent less than in Germany, 47 percent less than in the Czech republic and by 7 percent less than in Slovakia. Average price of electricity for industry in Poland was 21.35 euro cents/kWh and was higher by 7%. than for households.

At the end of 2023, in turn spot energy prices in Germany were 14% lower, in the Czech republic by 11 percent, in Slovakia by 7 percent, a In Lithuania by 4 percent than in Poland. In Sweden it was 61% cheaper. – indicated in the study.

A difficult farewell to coal

The report noted that energy transformation in Poland is progressing, and 2023 was the year of “real records”. “Though it remains the main source of electricity production coal, its share in the mix has fallen to the lowest level in history level of 60.5 percent – this is 10 percentage points less than a year earlier,” noted the authors of the report.

According to FE estimates, in 2023 hard coal consumption amounted to approx. 57 million tonnes, which means a decrease compared to 2022 by approx. 8 million tonnes (-12% y/y). The estimated consumption of thermal hard coal decreased by 16% in 2023. (-8.3 million tons) y/y, to approx. 45 million tons.

No idea for renewable energy

It was also added that production from renewable energy sources increased by 6.2 percentage points compared to the previous year and reached 27 percent for the first time. share in the energy mix. At the same time it increased energy production from gas – by over 40 percent reaching, 9.9 percent share in the energy mix.

In the opinion of FE experts development of renewable energy in Poland “does not result from a conscious state plan towards investing in renewable energy, but rather the result of market operation and the lifting of blockades“.

It was noted that wholesale energy prices in Poland compared to other EU countries, they remain at a “very high” level, and the economy's dependence on imported fossil fuels is growing “rapidly”.

CO2 emissions are the Achilles heel of the Polish power industry

The report indicated that Polish power industry is still the most emissive in the entire EUand in terms of emission intensity (how many tons of CO2 were emitted on average when using one unit of primary energy, e.g. coal) it is the 3rd country in the world after Kazakhstan and South Africa. “The significant level of emissions translates into high energy prices, and in industry – into a decline in competitiveness due to… high carbon footprint of goods produced in Poland. If nothing changes, in the coming years the Polish economy will be exposed to a decline in investment,” the study emphasizes.

According to FE estimates, in 2023 gross emissions in Poland decreased by 5.5% compared to 2022, to approximately 364 million tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). Most greenhouse gas emissions came from the production of electricity and heat: 124 million tonnes of CO2e, i.e. 34%. estimated total gross emissions. This means a decrease compared to 2022 by 21.4 million tons of CO2e (-15% y/y). The report also shows that compared to 1990, emissions from power plants and combined heat and power plants decreased by 38.9%, and from heating plants by 76.2%.

The data presented by FE also shows that the volume of emission allowances sold by Poland amounted to 65.1 million tons in 2023. This is 2.1 million tons more than in 2022. The country's budget gained PLN 24.67 billion auctions of CO2 emission allowances (EUA and EUAA). This is PLN 1.4 billion more than in 2022. “It is becoming important to look at the use of energy in the entire economy: comprehensively – and not only by division into individual industries,” experts added.

Who manages the energy transition?

According to FE lack of a coherent plan for transformation results in increasing risks related to balancing the system and maintaining its security. They pointed out that the unavailability of conventional units is increasing every year. Level power reserves remains low (last year it amounted to a minimum of 1.4 GW, i.e. it has not improved compared to 2022).

Inelastic carbon blocks they are unable to work at sufficiently low minimums at sunny noon and quickly increase their power in the evening. In addition, it is almost complete lack of energy storage. This combination forces the operator to limiting the operation of renewable sources – despite the fact that they produce almost free energy,” it was noted.

The report added that only in 2023 this way we lost 74 GWh of electricity, but the scale of the problem is “growing rapidly”. “From January to mid-May this year, over 400 GWh of energy was subjected to non-market redispatching (top-down production limitation – PAP). This is as much as was consumed by nearly half a million households in this period,” said Marcin Dusyła, a senior analyst at Forum Energii.

The FE Foundation is a “think-tank” conducting analytical and scientific research and popularizing the results of this research. The Energy Forum team consists of experts in the field of energy, heating, industry, energy efficiency and economics.

author: Anna Bytniewska


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