Publication date: February 21, 2023
Already in 2015, as part of the United Nations Convention, the “Paris Agreement” on climate change was concluded. This agreement is called the Global Climate Agreement. Its goal is to keep the increase in the global average temperature below 2° Celsius and make every effort to keep it to no more than 1.5° Celsius. The countries of the European Union and other developed countries have committed to continue financing climate action in order to help developing countries reduce emissions and become more resilient to the effects of climate change. The Parliament of the European Union and the Council (of the European Union) issued a regulation in 2021 that established the purpose of the European Climate Law. The main assumption of the regulation is to balance emissions and removals of greenhouse gases throughout the European Union, which is to result in achieving net zero emissions by 2050. In addition, the institutions of the European Union and the Member States are obliged to introduce the necessary measures, which together are to make it possible to achieve climate neutrality, and even to reduce it in the future.
Due to the fact that Poland is a Member State of the European Union, the above agreement and the regulation are binding for it. On March 10, 2021, the Minister of Climate and Environment issued an announcement on the state energy policy until 2040 – the so called Polish Energy Policy 2040. It is a document that constitutes Poland’s strategy in the field of energy transformation. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine affect all global economies, including the energy economy. These events result in an increase in the prices of energy carriers, a threat to the security of supplies, or difficulties with access to raw materials. Given these effects, the energy transformation will entail the involvement of many entities and increased investment outlays. The fuel and energy sector in Poland will be transformed, and related investments will receive financial support from the state budget and EU funds.
The “Polish Energy Policy 2040” is one of the nine objectives resulting from the Strategy for Responsible Development, which defines the basic conditions, goals and directions of the country’s development. The state energy policy contains a description of the condition and conditions of the energy zone and three pillars have been indicated, based on eight specific objectives along with measures necessary for their implementation. The main assumption of the state energy policy is energy security while ensuring the competitiveness of the economy, energy efficiency and reducing the impact of the energy sector on the environment. Specific objectives, on the other hand, concern the energy supply chain and contribute to the implementation of the three pillars.
Fair energy transition
The first pillar is a fair transition. The energy transition aims to protect the regions and communities most affected by the transformation of energy policy. Activities related to the transformation of coal regions will be supported with funds in the amount of about PLN 60 billion. A fair (sustainable) transition is to be based on providing new jobs and building new industries that are to contribute to the transformation of the energy sector.
Zero-emission energy system
The second pillar of Poland’s energy policy is a zero-emission energy system. It is referred to as a “long-term direction” and is to consist, among others, in the implementation of nuclear energy and offshore wind energy, the involvement of industrial energy, while ensuring energy security through the temporary use of energy technologies using gaseous fuels.
Good air quality
The last, third pillar of the energy policy is good air quality in Poland. This is to be a key result of the energy transformation due to the fact that it will be felt by every citizen. It is to consist , among others, in moving away from fossil fuels, using local energy sources and promoting passive and zero-emission houses.
Main assumptions of Polish Energy Policy 2040
1. Energy transformation, taking into account energy self-sufficiency;
2. Increasing the share of RES (Renewable Energy Sources) in all sectors and technologies (wind, solar, aerothermal, geothermal, hydro, ocean energy sources, biomass and the biodegradable fraction of waste). In 2030, the share of RES in gross final energy consumption will be at least 23%, not less than 32% in the power sector (mainly wind and PV) 28% in the heating sector (an increase of 1.1 pp. y/y) 14% in transport (with a large contribution of electromobility);
3. Offshore wind energy in Poland – the installed capacity will reach: approximately 5.9 GW in 2030 to approx. 11 GW in 2040;
4. There will be a significant increase in installed capacity in photovoltaics to: approximately 5-7 GW in 2030 and approximately 10-16 GW in 2040;
5. In 2030, the share of coal in electricity generation will not exceed 56% in Poland;
6. Reduction of the use of coal in the economy will take place in a way that ensures a just transition;
7. Energy efficiency will increase – for 2030, a target of 23% reduction in primary energy consumption vs. PRIMES2007 forecasts;
8. TSOe (Transmission System Operators) and DSO (Distribution Systems Operators) investment programs will be focused on the development of RES and active customers and local balancing;
9. In 2033, the first unit of the nuclear power plant with a capacity of approx. 1-1.6 GW will be launched. Subsequent units will be implemented every 2-3 years, and the entire nuclear program assumes the construction of 6 units;
10. By 2040, the heating needs of all households in Poland will be covered by system heat and by zero- or low-emission individual sources;
11. Natural gas will be a bridge fuel in the energy transformation;
12. In 2030, the gas network will be able to transport a mixture containing approx. 10% of decarbonised gases;
13. The infrastructure of natural gas, crude oil and liquid fuels will be expanded, and diversification of supply directions will be ensured;
14. A number of actions will be aimed at improving air quality, including:
− development of district heating (4-fold increase in the number of effective district heating systems by 2030)
− low-emission direction of transformation of individual sources (heat pumps, electric heating)
− departure from combustion coal in households in cities by 2030, in rural areas by 2040; while maintaining the possibility of using smokeless fuel until 2040
− increasing the energy efficiency of buildings – developing low-emission transport, in particular striving for zero-emission public transport by 2030 in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants
15. By 2030, GHG emissions will be reduced by approx. 30% compared to 1990;
16. Reduction of the phenomenon of energy poverty to the level of max. 6% of households;
17. The most anticipated development of energy technologies and investments in R&D includes:
– energy storage technologies
– smart metering and energy management systems
– electromobility and alternative fuels
– hydrogen technologies.
The specific objectives of the Polish Energy Policy 2040 include: optimal use of own energy resources, expansion of generation infrastructure and electricity network, diversification of natural gas and crude oil supplies and development of network infrastructure, development of energy markets, implementation of nuclear energy, development of renewable energy sources, development of heating and cogeneration, and improving energy efficiency.
In the announcement, the Minister of Climate and Environment presented the key elements of Poland’s energy policy. The energy transformation is to take place taking into account Poland’s energy self-sufficiency. The use of offshore wind electricity and an increase in the capacity installed in photovoltaics are declared. In 2030, the share of coal in energy generation is not to exceed 56%, and its reduction will take place in a way that ensures a just transition. An increase in the share of renewable energy sources in all sectors and technologies and an increase in energy efficiency were announced (in 2030 the goal is to reduce the consumption of primary energy by 23% compared to the forecasts). In 2033, the first unit of the nuclear power plant (out of six planned) is to be commissioned, and the next ones every 2-3 years. By 2040, the heating needs of all households are to be covered by system heat and by zero- or low-emission individual sources. The infrastructure of natural gas, crude oil and liquid fuels is to be developed and the directions of their supply are to be extended. In the energy transformation, natural gas is to be a bridge fuel. The capacity to transport a mixture containing approx. 10% of decarbonised gases through gas networks is to be completed by 2030. Air quality is to be improved, among others, by the development of system heating, low-emission direction of transformation of individual sources (heat pumps, electric heating), abandonment of coal burning in households (in cities by 2030, in rural areas by 2040), development of low-emission transport – striving for zero-emission public transport by 2030 in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. By 2030, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by approximately 30% compared to 1990.
The entities responsible for the implementation of the “Polish Energy Policy 2040” are primarily government and local government administration bodies, government institutions, entities in the fuel and energy sector and business entities that are obliged to fulfill statutory obligations in the field of energy use. Households are also important entities, which are obliged to take care of the rational use of energy and stimulate the energy market.
The development and transformation of the energy sector in Poland involves investment. The financing of this development is based on national and private public funds as well as on funds from the European Union. Funds from the national public sector are to come from the central and local government budgets. The development of the private sector contributes to the increase in the income of central and local government institutions – the increase in profits and revenues in private funds translates into an increase in salaries, which increases the state budget revenues. It is estimated that the funds for investments in the energy sector will amount to PLN 867-890 billion. It is expected that the costs in the electricity generation branch will reach about PLN 320-342 billion, and about 80% of them will be allocated to renewable energy sources and nuclear energy. By 2030, approximately PLN 260 billion is to be transferred from the EU and national funds for the national energy transformation.
The announcement of the Polish Minister of Climate and Environment summarizes the potential sources of financing the “Polish Energy Policy 2040” from domestic and foreign funds. For example, the development of renewable energy sources is estimated to be subsidized in the amount of approximately PLN 450 million per year. On the other hand, from the modernization fund for the modernization of the energy sector, financing can be obtained from around EUR 2,000-4,800 million.
In the list discussed above, attention was paid to the financing of research and development and the implementation of innovative solutions from national funds, the European Union or funds available under international programmes. This may be particularly important for Polish entrepreneurs who, in addition to developing their business, are currently facing a crisis. The companies’ energy transformation includes photovoltaics and renewable energy sources. Photovoltaic technology is not the most popular form of improving energy efficiency. Before solar panels are installed, an analysis is carried out to determine which industrial mechanisms consume the most water, heat and energy. On this basis, solutions are adapted to bring savings. The use of solar energy can be a suitable solution for small businesses as well as for large entrepreneurs. The use of renewable energy sources results in lower energy prices (which is important for the entrepreneur) and allows for independence from fossil fuels (important for the development of the energy sector). For example, the development of direct connections between the installation and the end user allows for the reduction of harmful emissions and leads to the energy transformation of the company.
Renewable energy sources, due to their profitability, are increasingly competing with traditional technologies. The result is accelerating progress and innovation in this field. The main obstacle to the widespread use of renewable energy sources is its instability, but the development and discussion on them on the international arena results in the improvement of energy storage devices and systems.
Wind energy, the use of which is to be increased, has an impact on lowering energy prices. Wind farms are defined as sources with zero variable costs, i.e. they do not include expenses for the purchase of fuel and are used first. Wind energy is becoming more and more common due to the increasing production and installation capacity of wind farms. In 2016, the Polish Act on investments in wind farms was introduced, which regulated the minimum distance of a wind farm from a residential building. The introduced rule, called the “10H rule” (H – height), stipulates that the wind farm must be located at a distance equal to or greater than ten times the height of the wind farm from the residential building. The introduction of such a regulation prevented the development of onshore wind energy, because its application excluded 99.7% of Poland from the possibility of erecting wind farms in this area. However, work is currently underway to amend the above-mentioned act, which is to provide for the possibility of reducing the distance established in the act. The decision on a shorter distance is to be made by the communes that draw up local spatial development plans. The new regulations are also intended to impose an obligation on the investor, who will have to offer at least 10% of the installed capacity of the wind farm to the residents of the commune where it will be located. The inhabitants of the commune would use the energy as a virtual prosumer. According to the legal definition, a virtual prosumer of renewable energy is an end user who generates electricity exclusively from renewable energy sources for his own needs in a renewable energy source installation connected to the power distribution network in a place other than the place where electricity is supplied to this recipient. Residents of the commune who could use such a solution would settle accounts with the investor at market prices. According to some experts, limiting profits may discourage investors from investing their capital in renewable energy sources.
At the end of 2022, the Polish Electricity Committee prepared a report on the energy transformation in Poland. The report indicates that the Polish energy sector effectively implements the objectives of the European Union by investing in renewable energy sources and other technologies that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Members of the Polish Electricity Committee implement and plan to continue supporting transformation in the areas of electricity and heat generation and power grids through projects. In addition, it was found that in 2030, the financial resources of Polish energy groups and other investors, as well as available EU funds, may be insufficient to cover the total investment outlays for the energy transformation, therefore it is necessary to monitor other sources supporting investment financing. In the opinion of the Committee, in order to maintain an effective energy transformation, it is necessary to use all available means to stabilize electricity prices as soon as possible. In the current economic environment, it is likely that the energy transition may lose momentum or even come to a complete standstill.
As can be seen from the above, Poland and other countries in the world have successfully started the fight against global warming. The energy transformation in Poland is a long-term project that introduces innovations and changes. According to its assumptions, the “Polish Energy Policy 2040” is to use the country’s potential to develop the economy and introduce measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Polish national legal regulations within energy transformation:
Act of April 10, 1997 – Energy Law (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 833, as amended)
Act of November 29, 2000 – Atomic Law (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1792, as amended)
Act of April 27, 2001 – Environmental Protection Law (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1219, as amended)
Act of August 25, 2006 on biocomponents and liquid biofuels (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1233, as amended)
Act of 25 August 2006 on the Fuel Quality Monitoring and Control System (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 133)
Act of 6 December 2006 on the principles of development policy (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1295, as amended)
Act of 16 February 2007 on stocks of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas and the rules of conduct in situations of threat to the fuel security of the state and disturbances on the oil market (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 411, as amended )
Act of 26 April 2007 on crisis management (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1856, as amended)
Act of 3 October 2008 on the provision of information on the environment and its protection, public participation in environmental protection and environmental impact assessments (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 247)
Act of June 9, 2011 – Geological and Mining Law (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1064, as amended)
Act of 29 June 2011 on the preparation and implementation of investments in nuclear power facilities and accompanying investments (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 1537, as amended)
Act of 14 December 2012 on waste (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 797, as amended)
Act of February 20, 2015 on renewable energy sources (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 261, as amended)
Act of 20 May 2016 on energy efficiency (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 264, as amended)
Act of 12 June 2015 on the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading system (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 136, as amended)
Act of July 20, 2017 – Water Law (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 310, as amended)
Act of 8 December 2017 on the capacity market (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 247, as amended)
Act of 11 January 2018 on electromobility and alternative fuels (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 110)
Act of 5 July 2018 on the National Cybersecurity System (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1369)
Act of 14 December 2018 on the promotion of electricity from high-efficiency cogeneration (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 144)
Directive on the natural gas market – Directive (EU) 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC (Official Journal EU L 211 of 14.08 2009, p. 94, as amended)
Ecodesign Directive for energy-related products – Directive (EU) 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (Official Journal EU L 285 of 31.10.2009, p. 10, as amended)
IED Directive – Directive (EU) 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (Official Journal EU L 334 of 17.12.2010, p. 17)
MCP Directive – Directive (EU) 2015/2193 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants (OJ L 313 of 28.11.2015, p. 1)
NIS Directive – Directive (EU) 2016/1148 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 on measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union (cybersecurity) (Official Journal EU L 194 of 19.07 .2016, p. 1)
Pollution Reduction Directive – Directive (EU) 2016/2284 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2016 on the reduction of domestic emissions of certain types of atmospheric pollutants, amending Directive 2003/35/EC and repealing Directive 2001/81/EC (Journal EU Office L 344 of 17/12/2016, p. 1)
Energy Efficiency Directive / EED Directive – Directive (EU) 2018/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 11, 2018 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (Official Journal EU L 328 of 21.12.2018, p. 210) [from the “Clean energy for all Europeans” package]
Energy Efficiency of Buildings Directive – Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (Journal EU Office L 156 of 19.06.2018, p. 75) [from the package “Clean energy for all Europeans”]
Stocks Directive – Directive (EU) 2009/119/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2009 imposing an obligation on Member States to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil or petroleum products (Official Journal EU L 265 of 09.10.2009, page 9, as amended)
RES Directive / RED II Directive – Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast) (OJ L 328 of 21.12.2018, 82, as amended) [from the package “Clean energy for all Europeans”]
Internal Market in Electricity Directive / Directive on common rules for the internal market in electricity – Directive (EU) 2019/944 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on common rules for the internal market in electricity and amending Directive 2012/27/EU [from “Clean energy for all Europeans”] (Official Journal EU L 158 of 14.06.2019, p. 125)
Regulation 715/2009 – Regulation (EC) No. 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks and repealing Regulation (EC) No. 1775/2005 (Official Journal EU L 211 of August 14, 2009, p. 36)
ESR Regulation – Regulation (EU) 2018/842 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 contributing to climate action to meet from the obligations arising from the Paris Agreement and amending Regulation (EU) No. 525/2013 (Official Journal EU L 156 of 19.06.2018, p. 26)
Energy Union Governance Regulation / Governance Regulation – Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations 94/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EC and 2013/30/EU, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulations (EU) No. 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council [from the package “Clean energy for all Europeans”] (OJ L 328 of 21.12.2018, p. 1, as amended)
SoS Regulation – Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2017 concerning measures to safeguard security of natural gas supply and repealing Regulation (EU) No 994/2010 (Official Journal EU L 280 of 28.10.2017 , page 1)
Regulation on the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) – Regulation (EU) 2019/942 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 establishing the European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (Official Journal EU L 158 of 14.06.2019, p. 22) [from the package “Clean energy for all Europeans”]
Regulation on risk preparedness in the electricity system – Regulation (EU) 2019/941 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on preparedness for risks in the electricity sector and repealing Directive 2005/89/EC (Journal of Laws EU L 158, 14.06.2019, p. 1) [from the Clean Energy for all Europeans package]