Friday

22nd Nov 2019

Stakeholder

Common-sense approach needed for EU energy reform

  • Poland is ranked seventh in Europe for installed capacity of wind farms. (Photo: TAURON Group)

Access to safe, sustainable and cheap energy is a dream of all European Union member states, and also a goal that Poland is steadfastly seeking to accomplish. Turning this idea into reality may not, however, take place without taking into account the specifics and conditions of the individual regions.

Several weeks ago, I spoke to an inhabitant of a Western European country who had not visited Poland for a long time. He admitted that he was shocked when he got off the plane.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Poland is investing heavily on clean technologies and electromobility, says Filip Grzegorczyk, CEO of Tauron Polska Energia. (Photo: TAURON Group)

The visitor explained that he had perceived Poland as a poor, disadvantaged country, with the majority of its population being blue collar workers – and this was the image he expected to see. Instead, he observed a modern airport, smoothly-paved roads and well-developed infrastructure.

Poland, in recent years, has been experiencing a period of strong social and economic growth, leading to great strides in innovations.

But the perception of our country worldwide is still far from the reality.

An example of people's misperception is Poland's energy sector. It has been perceived as a bastion of outdated ways, reluctant to accept, and resisting the "inevitable" changes that the West has introduced so willingly.

Energy security based on local resources

Such thoughts are a mistake - the technologies applied in Poland are in no way different from the ones used by the rest of the European Union. Poland's fuel mix is aimed at ensuring the security of power-supply based on the use of local resources.

We are boldly investing more and more in renewable energy sources and modern technologies in the energy sector.

This is worth emphasising, especially at a time when the EU is conducting an intense discussion of the Winter Package that may have a significant impact on the shape of the European energy sector.

Clear evidence of the changes introduced in Poland, among others, is our steady ascent in country rankings for growth of renewable energy sources.

We are ranked seventh in Europe for installed capacity of wind farms. The value of wind-based installed capacity increased 70 times between 2005 and 2017, according to the Polish Electricity Association.

The share of coal in Poland's energy mix is steadily declining. As recently as 2010, coal accounted for approximately 85 percent, in 2016 it dropped to 81.5 percent, and last year it dropped again to 79.5 percent. By 2050, the share of coal in Poland's energy mix is estimated to be about 50 percent.

Clean energy technologies to electromobility

TAURON Group has been working on developing clean energy technologies and implementing trailblazing solutions for many years.

At the end of last year, the number of micro-installations connected to our distribution grid reached 9140, with a total capacity of 56 MW; 132 installations classified as small installations (40-200 kW) with a total capacity of 14 MW; and 237 larger installations with the unit capacity of more than 200 kW and a total capacity of more than 913 MW.

Our organisation owns four wind farms with more than 100 turbines generating electricity and the total capacity of 201 MW, and it is operating 34 hydroelectric power plants equipped with 85 turbine sets with the total capacity of 133 MW.

TAURON is also preparing for the future – investing in electromobility, co-developing the Electromobility Poland project with the goal of building a Polish electric vehicle.

In the heart of Poland's most heavily industrialised region, Katowice, we will be developing a network of electric vehicles charging stations and a car-sharing service.

EC solely betting on climate solutions

When analysing the Winter Package provisions, even cursorily, one can see that the European Commission is placing its bets solely on climate solutions, meanwhile the issue of security of electricity supply, which should be a priority, is unfortunately marginalised.

In the draft Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union, the monitoring of energy security-related issues, which was the raison d'etre for forming the Energy Union, is being placed on the back burner.

It is supposed to provide the backdrop for showing progress in the decarbonisation process or the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) expansion.

But such sources do not represent any of the pillars of the Energy Union, in contrast to the security of electricity supply, energy efficiency improvements, innovations and raising competitiveness.

Actions to be implemented as part of the Winter Package, related to decarbonisation or market development (share of cross-border connections, superregional institutions impacting the market, introduction of dynamic tariffs (prices) and increased role (empowerment) of energy consumers), are to solve the problem of ensuring the security of electricity supply. However, without special measures – aimed at ensuring and maintaining the security of electricity supply – full implementation of this scenario will depend on the reliability of electricity supply.

Common sense approach

TAURON Group supports a common sense approach. The three vertices of the energy triangle – climate, security of electricity supply and market – should be balanced.

It is untrue that Poland is against renewable energy sources. Investments made in recent years and a strong growth of this sector demonstrate that our country is doing its best to become a European leader in this area.

The effort we are undertaking is enormous and it is bringing results, but we cannot afford to support such a fast growth of RES as outlined in the Winter Package.

Furthermore, we must ensure we have backup capacity in order to prevent disruptions of electricity supply. For example, a two-day blackout could undermine the foundations of any reform.

Also, the regulations cannot be used to exclude any technology. This is true in case of the EPS 550 standard that is dramatically reducing the possibility of coal technologies being supported by the capacity market mechanisms.

This is not only Poland's problem. Today we are speaking with the same voice as other Central and Eastern European countries.

The accomplishment of the goals of the Winter Package is possible in the case of Poland, but only over a longer period of time.

We want to undergo an energy transformation and we will implement it. But we need more time to implement changes in the power sector.

Author bio

Filip Grzegorczyk is vice president of PKEE, the Polish Electricity Association, and CEO of Tauron Polska Energia.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Nordic electricity market presented to global energy ministers

Energy ministers from the world's biggest economies, including the G20, were shown how co-operation works in the Nordic electricity market. This co-operation is unique by international standards and is held up as a model globally.

Opinion

Nord Stream II aims to undermine Energy Union

The Gazprom pipeline simply does not have any commercial bearing. Rather, it undermines the functioning and effectiveness of the European Energy Union and circumvents Ukraine for gas transits - paving the way for further Russian strong-arming in the region.

Brussels welcomes Nordic culture

Brussels will play host to more than 400 Nordic artists and creative practitioners this autumn, organised by one of Europe's most influential cultural institutions, BOZAR.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  3. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  8. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  9. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  10. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  11. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us