The Council of Ministers in Poland have officially approved its Energy Policy of Poland until 2040 plan (EPP2040), also referred to as Polish Energy Policy or PEP2040. It calling EPP2040 a ‘clear vision of Poland’s energy transformation strategy’ to help the country’s economy recover from the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic. However, the project is not new, in fact it was 12 years in the making. The final document will be published in the country’s official journal, Monitor Polski.
The PEP2040 is built on 3 pillars of just transition, zero emission energy system and good air quality while covering 8 strategic projects that includes development of renewable energy sources as well as nuclear power.
With coal as its dominating source of power generation currently, Poland aims to have a 23% share of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption by 2030, with the share of wind and solar PV not less than 32% in electricity, 28% in heating and 14% in transport.
Under the EPP2040, there will be an increase in the installed solar PV capacity of the country reaching approximately 5 GW to 7 GW by 2030, and close to 10 GW to 16 GW in 2040, compared to over 3.5 GW cumulative installed PV capacity at the end of 2020 as reported by IEO. However, when taken into account that Poland installed over 2 GW alone in 2020, these numbers are not ambitious at all (see Poland Added 2 GW New PV In 2020: IEO).
Back in July 2019, IEO had said PEP2040 provides the most optimistic scenario for the development of PV sector expecting its total capacity to reach 20.2 GW by 2040, while under the National Plan for Energy and Climate 2030 (KPEiK 2020), it pegs the number at 15.7 GW by 2040 (see Poland To Add 1 GW PV In 2019).
The installed capacity of offshore wind is expected to reach around 5.9 GW in 2030 and up to 11 GW in 2040. However, coal power will continue to be around even as its share in electricity production by 2030 will not exceed 56% and in future it may even drop to 37.5%. The policy document does not mention a coal phase out is on the cards even after 2040. Nuclear power finally gets to enter Poland as the government plans 6 units with a cumulative capacity of 6 GW to 9 GW to be implemented in 2033 to ‘strengthen the base of the system’.
Nonetheless, there will be focus on developing requisite network infrastructure, energy storage technologies and to expand gas units as regulating capacities.
“PEP2040 will put Poland on the path towards a low-carbon economy by implementing a fair energy transformation, developing renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency and improving air quality. These issues are becoming increasingly important to citizens,” explained Polish Minister of Climate and Environment, Michal Kurtyka. “PEP2040 also takes into account the needs of those professional groups and regions that, without appropriate intervention, will bear the disproportionate cost of transformation. This mainly concerns the coal sector and citizens at risk of energy poverty.”
Greenpeace Poland is not happy with the policy approved and in classic Greenpeace style of mincing no words to call a spade a spade, the NGO called it a ‘bizarre document’ and saying it ‘resembles the plan to create the largest energy museum in the European Union’ as it does not respond to the challenges of the climate crisis and is detached from the economic realities. This lack of a plan for a rapid exit from coal which looks like it will continue to form part of the country’s power system even after 2040, shows ‘irresponsible attitude of the government towards mining communities’.
“It seems that Minister Kurtyka – although he is responsible for the Ministry of Climate – has forgotten about the droughts, floods or hurricane winds that affect us more and more often due to climate change. The project is also detached from the realities of European politics,” said Greenpeace Polska’s Head of Climate and Energy Team, Joanna Flisowska. “It has long been known that revolutionary changes are needed in the energy sector. Meanwhile, PEP 2040 is inadequate at the time of its entry into force.”