Energy Sector Poland: Not Only for Energy Security
Even though the country’s energy security is cited as the most important argument for the occasion of the planned energy investments, it surely is not the only one. It is also environmental protection, increased competitiveness on international markets, new jobs and increased GDP growth.
Being implemented gradually by Beata Szydło’s government, Poland’s energy strategy is based on two main premises. The first one of them is the country’s energy security, the second – widely de-fined competitiveness and progressiveness. Energy security primarily means the full or as big as possible, independence of Polish economy from foreign supplies of raw materials, the optimal usage of own natural resources in accordance with the concept of sustainable development, development of renewable sources of energy as well as the support for the investments which shall have long-term benefits.
It is also taking advantage of the raw materials which up to now have only been used to a small ex-tent or not at all and discovering the new possibilities to use the assets. An example might be the planned heating network and cogeneration – using the same unit of fuel to produce heat and elec-tricity doubles the effect. An equally important condition for the implementation of Poland’s energy strategy which, at the same time, ensures energy security, is investing in new technologies. Without such solutions, the optimal usage of owned natural raw materials may prove impossible. What is more, Polish energy sector’s reliance on modern technology will make it safer and its prices more competitive, provide employment for qualified personnel and finally – will be less damaging to the environment.
This last argument – which might be the most important one – becomes particularly important in winter when for another year in a row big Polish cities are struggling with the problem of smog. Heating residential buildings (but not only) using solid fuels, mainly coal, has a negative impact on the environment. However, without the further development of heating networks, limiting the so-called low emission might turn out to be impossible.
Implemented and future investments
Viewed in the framework of new energy blocks, it is visible that there is a lot going on in the Polish energy sector. Should the investments planned for completion this year be completed on time, 7 new objects totaling 2440 MW will be added to our asset list (the value of those investments is approx. 2.07 billion euro). Subsequent projects are also being implemented, so by the end of this decade 6 more large energy undertakings should be completed, whilst the total power of all the new blocks would increase by 6100 MW. This is not the end, though more investments await the green light, some of which have already been accepted whilst others stay in suspense.
Along with investing into new energy blocks, it is necessary to modernize the existing transmission network and building new ones. Without investing in modern lines, the reliable transmission of power from the new blocks might turn out to be impossible which would mean that the investments planned by the end of 2020, totaling approx. 6.7 billion euro would not fully live up to the hopes placed in them. To avoid this scenario, development of the existing transmission network is planned. The Parliament received the project of amendment of the special act which assumes the implementation of 5 new transmission undertakings.
There is still a question mark over the Polish nuclear energy programme. Even though at the begin-ning of February this year, the Ministry of Energy presented the conclusions from the report entitled ‘The influence of nuclear programme on the Polish economy. Benefits on the national economic level’, in which one can read about many benefits of introducing the nuclear programme – not only for the energy sector itself but for the whole economy. The programme itself, however, still remains one big unknown. There have already been discussions on the development of nuclear energy as an alternative to coal since the previous century. However, the concept still lacks a cohesive model of functioning, sources of financing a nuclear power station are unknown and above all, despite carry-ing out numerous professional evaluations, the place where this power station would be located is yet to be determined.
Maybe, as the result, the future of the Polish energy sector will be dominated by energy storehouses. The first object of this type was created in Poland at the end of last year near Puck in Pomorze. Lo-cated in the close vicinity of wind farms and planned photovoltaic farms, biogas plant and end con-sumers, the industrial energy storehouse is still a testing object where the possibilities for the provi-sion of electricity will be verified. Should the tests be successful, such a storehouse might be a cut-ting-edge element, increasing the country’s security and energy effectiveness.
The aforementioned aspects of the energy strategy carried out are only a fragment of the Polish en-ergy sector. There are still a lot of challenges for it, such as the power market, electro-mobility, new investments in generating powers, and development of dispersed energy sector or finding the opti-mal functioning model for renewable sources of energy.