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Friday, September 17, 2021

Michał Kurtyka, Minister of Climate and Environment, on changes in the Polish energy and heating sectors

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We anticipate two scenarios by 2040. One assumes that the share of coal-based energy could be at the level of 11 percent – said Minister of Climate and Environment Michał Kurtyka in Karpacz in an interview with TVN24 BiS. He added that the changes are to be helped by the energy transformation fund in the amount of PLN 80 billion, which from next year is to support systemic change.

– We have a huge challenge here. Technically speaking, our electricity generation infrastructure from the 1960s and 1970s, these coal blocks, is in urgent need of replacement. Hence the investment program, which we have envisaged in Poland’s energy policy until 2040, and the decline in the share of coal in the production of the Polish energy sector. The pace at which new investments appear is of key importance. We must be sure that we will have security of energy supply, that we will have electricity in the socket – said Kurtyka.


Changes in the Polish energy sector and a fund of PLN 80 billion

The minister of climate also described the activities of the ministry aimed at supporting changes in the Polish energy sector. – We are opening both the capacity market and support systems for renewable energy sources, we have launched a powerful program for offshore wind energy, and we are working on the nuclear program. These are solutions that can provide us with a replacement for those carbon blocks that will inevitably go away, also due to the technical viability – he explained.

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When will the shift away from coal take place? – It will depend on the pace of new investments. We have envisaged two scenarios in the energy policy until 2040. One – the lower one – assumes that the share of coal-fired energy could be at the level of 11 percent. Recall that 7-8 years ago it was above 80 percent, now we’ve dropped below 70 percent. So 10 percentage points in just 5-6 years. This is a huge change. And this pace will have to be maintained so that in 2040 it will be 11 percent – emphasized Kurtyka.

He added that the needs of the Polish economy are growing, and “Poland is developing strongly, industrializing” and changes in the energy sector “must be on time”. – Hence all this work, including the energy transformation fund – PLN 80 billion, which we want to launch from next year to support the systemic change in the large energy sector – he stressed.

Minister of Climate on the situation in the Polish heating sector

– This is the second such huge, systemic area to be developed and such an asset that was unfortunately hardly forgotten – said Kurtyka about the Polish heating sector.

He explained that when he took over the climate ministry, he established a district heating department so that “this topic could be addressed in a systemic manner”. He added that the ministry has prepared a heating strategy.

– It assumes a very rapid evolution of heating companies. They are even more outdated today than our traditional system. Unfortunately, these are small systems – small companies, often self-governing. They often lack competence and knowledge. There are 400 such heating systems and we are working with heaters to encourage them to switch from old, obsolete coal boilers as soon as possible – 71 percent of Polish heating is based on coal – to cogeneration solutions – said the minister.

He explained that cogeneration solutions are based on the fact that they produce both electricity and heat at the same time. – So, from the same unit of fuel, in this case most likely gas, we will be able to obtain two products and thus reduce the operating costs of this heating sector. Hence the support system that we have proposed – PLN 500 million for district heating – said Kurtyka.

He added: – This is a lot when it comes to the readiness of heating plants to submit projects. We encourage you to have projects. We are ready to support this evolution of heating, but we need to have projects ready on the side of these smaller entities, on the side of local governments. And breaking the awareness that now it is necessary to invest in heating, because it will also isolate heat prices from the evolution (prices – ed.) Of raw materials. If a year ago in September 2020, coal cost around $ 60 and now costs $ 160, then naturally there are fluctuations that affect heat prices.

Kurtyka about the situation in the Polish heating industryTVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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