Even though ecology is a key economic and social theme, it was most definitely side-lined during the Polish parliamentary elections of 15 October 2023. The campaign was dominated by other issues: the surveillance of opposition politicians by special services, the role of state-run media, migration policy and the unprecedented enrichment of politicians from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party through state assets. These subjects stirred a lot more emotion than the future of a coal-based economy or the need to unfreeze the stunted development of wind energy. Michał Olszewski reports. Read More
Poland has a chance to be among the countries that will kickstart the hydrogen revolution. But will it seize the chance? Read More
It took nearly 30 years of debate – and eventually pressure from the European Union – to restore the bottle deposit system in Poland. At the beginning of the 1990s the reusable packaging market, especially for reusable bottles, began to die out in Poland. This was one of the few elements of the economy that was worth preserving as a legacy from the People’s Republic of Poland. In times of widespread shortage of raw materials, virtually every glass bottle circled around in the socialist closed-loop economy. At the beginning of the 90s, however, the era of disposability and plastic packaging began in Poland. And it’s only now that there’s been a rethink. Read More
In May 2023, the Polish parliament has passed a law that facilitates the construction of biogas plants. The new rules are intended to help smaller towns in particular ensure energy stability and accelerate the transition away from coal. Critics, however, argue that the new law is a case of too little, too late in an agricultural country that would be ideally suited to biogas. Read More
The good news is that Poland is no longer denying or ignoring the climate crisis. The bad news is that it believes the solution to eradicating its 80 percent dependency on fossil fuels – the highest in the EU – is an expansive nuclear energy program. Even the three democratic parties likely to form a new, liberal-minded coalition government, the outcome of the October 15 general election, believe that their country is going nuclear – big time and very soon – by building in total six full-size conventional reactors and as many as one hundred small modular reactors (SMR) in coming years. Paul Hockenos reports. Read More
Obsolete power grids are putting the brakes on Poland’s renewable energy rollout. According to the Energy Regulatory Office (URE), more than a third of overhead lines are over 40 years old, while a third of power stations were built before the year 1982. This aging infrastructure may slow the nation’s rapid increase in renewable sources. Agata Skrzypczyk has the details.
For decades, energy transition experts called for transforming post-mined lands into renewable energy hubs. To bolster their arguments, as part of their “Sunshine for Mines” project, a decade ago the pioneering Rocky Mountain Institute began tracking the few “lighthouse” projects that then existed. At the time, renewable capacity on mine sites stood at just over 600 megawatts worldwide. But by the end of 2019, globally almost 4.9 GW of renewable capacity had been installed or was in the pipeline. And since then, propelled even further by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global response to it, the sheer amount of these second-life projects is increasing exponentially — with Europe and the United States leading the world into a greener post-coal age. In this series, lead author and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum shines his light on several model solar-centric coal transitions now being developed worldwide. Read part 2, part 3 and part 4 of this series.
The embargo on raw materials from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine exposed weaknesses in the Polish energy system as well as political errors. For many in Poland, this winter will serve as a reminder of communist-era shortages. Michał Olszewski has the details
The Polish government has taken a first step towards realizing its nuclear energy aspirations – building a reactor with a total capacity of 9 GW by the year 2043. At the beginning of November, an agreement was signed with the American, Pittsburg-based company Westinghouse to build its first nuclear project on the Baltic coast. It marks a significant pivot in the Polish energy transition. Nuclear has long formed part of the country’s energy plans, but scant action was taken in that direction, more hope was put into renewable energy sources. Now it looks like green-energy sources may take a hit. Agata Skrzypczyk has the details.
This chart is easy to remember. On 24 June 2022 the energy think tank Instrat published data on energy production with a special focus on its sources. Combined, photovoltaics and wind energy yielded more power (26.3 %) than the total electricity production from lignite (24.2 %). This means that a revolution took place in a country where successive governments blocked the development of renewable energy sources. For a long time, RES was an alien idea for Polish elites, especially for those on the right. RES was suspicious, contrary to the coal-oriented national interest. Poland was supposed to be a country fuelled by Polish coal. There is a very long list of politicians who have talked a greater or lesser degree of nonsense, or sometimes simply lied, about the subject.