Poland’s ambitious amendments to PEP40 is strong enough to expedite the shift from coal power

A combination of rising carbon emission costs, the EU’s ambitious climate policies and the impact of COVID-19 is encouraging Polish authorities to expedite its energy transformation. The upgraded energy strategy, currently awaiting government approval, demonstrates the country’s desire to decay coal-based generation’s share in electricity generation, with investment pointed towards atomic and offshore wind project development. Data and analytics company GlobalData notes that Poland is anticipated to cut its dependence on coal, which accounted for 76.6% of the electricity generation in 2019, with an early closure expected by 2035-2036.

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Poland’s reliance on coal for its electricity needs is clear from its capacity mix, in which coal made up 65.2% in 2019, and the country was among the top three generators of coal-based electricity in Europe last year. With the proposed amendment, the nation diverts its focus to make nuclear-based generation and offshore wind as baseload. The proposed policy is predicted to not hinder the growth of solar PV but provides a conservative pull towards onshore wind.

“Presently, there are no operational offshore wind projects in Poland – although the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) recognized offshore wind as key to fulfilling its goals for renewable energy for 2030 and it is included within the Energy Policy until 2040. Offshore wind is predicted to shape almost 31.5%, which is slightly behind solar PV. However, as the sector has not been properly established in the country, developing 8-11GW of offshore wind capacity by 2040 (5.9 GW by 2030) would be a humongous task.”

The Polish Government sees the advancement of nuclear power generation capacity to be essential in meeting rising power demand and ensure a steady supply. The first 1-1.6GW unit is anticipated to be commissioned in 2033, with a yearning target to build subsequent units in every two to three years.

Das concluded: “The targets disclosed in the latest adaptation of the Polish Energy Policy to 2040 (PEP2040) are more ambitious than those in the previous version. The share of coal in power generation will be dependant on the carbon dioxide prices over the decade. Higher prices would likely lead to more profound cuts in coal-based generation.

“The nation has been one of the few countries in the western European region to be present without having any nuclear-based generation. The inclusion of nuclear and a focus on renewables such as offshore wind and solar PV would likely aid the rapid removal of coal from the electricity canvas as the nation undergoes a cleaner energy transition.”

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