28 Aug 2020
in Country Information, Economy, Energy, Government, Politics, Renewable Energy, Utilities
Since it became the EU member in 2004, Poland has been under a growing pressure to slash its CO2 emissions. The country has been scaling back its fossil fuel use; however, at a much slower pace than needed to hit the EU’s emissions targets. Coal still generates almost 70% of Poland’s electricity in 2020.
The Polish government opposed the new 2030 EU emission targets, arguing that its dependency on coal was too great and a fast transition away from the fossil fuel would be too costly. Poland also announced it will most likely miss it’s binding 2020 EU target to produce 15% of its final energy consumption from renewable energy sources, despite its huge wind shore potential, estimated to allow coverage of up to three quarters of the nation’s current total available generation.
With its huge dependency on coal and rising pressure to replace the “dirty” fuel, Poland could be one of the hottest markets for green power. However, since coming to power in late 2015, the pro-coal ruling party has made some unpredictable decisions, blocking renewable energy development and subsidizing increasingly uneconomical coal, in attempt to protect state-run businesses.
As the European Commission proposed linking its multi-billion stimulus program to the bloc’s new climate goals, a race started to cash in on the green transformation of countries with the region’s most polluting power plants. Financial opportunities, coupled with plummeting renewable energy costs and public backlash for having some of the dirtiest air in the EU region caused a recent, drastic turnaround in the Polish energy policy, with the ruling party now announcing its plans to increase its renewable power capacity by 65% in 2024.
However, considering the government’s previous unpredictable decisions, it is not at all certain if Poland will become the hottest new market for green energy. Any serious delay or disruption in the legislative process may lead to a decline in the interest and trust of investors, making the development of the project impossible.