Poland will spend billions on renewable sources and nuclear energy

The government said Poland wants to accelerate the phase-out of coal and spend billions on building renewable and nuclear energy infrastructure to tackle climate change and ensure a stable energy supply.

In updating its energy strategy by 2040, the climate ministry announced that Poland plans to invest 150 billion zlotys ($ 40 billion) in the construction of its first nuclear power plants, eventually with a capacity of 6-9 GW. The first unit with a capacity of 1–1.6 GW will be commissioned by 2033.

It also plans to build 8-11 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power capacity by 2040 with an investment of PLN 130 billion. According to him, the development of renewable and nuclear energy facilities will create 300,000 jobs.

Poland was the only European Union state to refuse to pledge climate neutrality by 2050, with the ruling Law and Justice party saying it needs more time and money to move its economy from coal to cleaner energy sources.

But rising carbon costs, the European Union’s ambitious climate policy and the coronavirus outbreak are forcing Warsaw to accelerate its energy transformation.

In an updated energy strategy, which is yet to be approved by the government, the climate ministry said that the share of coal in electricity production will fall to 37-56% in 2030 and to 11-28% in 2040, depending on the cost of carbon emissions. …

In November 2019, Poland expected the share of coal to be 56-60% in 2030, and 28% in 2040.

Following the announcement, shares in Polish utilities jumped in the belief that these companies would benefit from a faster coal phase-out.

At 08:30 GMT, PGE, Enea and Tauron rose 3.5%, 6% and 3.3%, respectively.

Greenpeace’s environmental campaign group, however, said the strategy fails to respond to the challenges of the climate crisis and is out of touch with economic realities.

“The plan calls for maintaining a high share of coal energy in energy production in 2030 and does not indicate a date for Poland to phase out coal,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

Burning coal has become costly due to rising prices for carbon permits. Poland’s coal industry has also struggled with a drop in demand, which accelerated during the COVID-19 isolation because the country was using less electricity.

The government and mining trade unions are planning to develop a plan to restructure the industry by the end of September. Poland planned to close several coal mines, but turned down the offer due to pressure from unions, who argued that the restructuring would lead to a sharp rise in unemployment among miners.

The climate ministry said Poland expects to receive 60 billion zlotys ($ 16 billion) from EU funds for the transformation of coal regions.

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