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.
All posts tagged: Poland
Brownfields to greenfields: repurposing coal mines worldwide into renewable centers
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.
A recipe for the cold
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
Critical juncture: Poland’s government greenlights the country’s first nuclear power plant
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.
Will winter smell of coal?
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.
Poland and the energy costs of the Russian war in Ukraine
The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine is not only barbaric – it is also a harbinger of rapid economic changes around the world. Even if the war ends relatively soon (and that is unlikely), a return to the status quo ante is unthinkable. So too is a return to the heavily fossil-fuelled and import-dependent European energy model that existed before the war. Is it appropriate to ponder over raw materials as bombs fall on Kharkiv and Mariupol? Yes, if solely for the reason that the future shape of the energy market should constitute a response to this barbarism. The question is whether Poland is genuinely prepared for such a response. Michał Olszewski with a perspective from Warsaw.
Poland’s Energy Dilemma
Recent events have thrown the debate as to whether fossil gas remains required to ensure the security of Europe’s energy supplies completely on its head. The threat that gas supplies can be either weaponised or placed under international sanctions at any point has never been clearer and has highlighted the urgent requirement for accelerated low carbon energy capacity deployment for Europe to reduce its reliance upon the fossil fuel. Jonathan Sims, Senior Analyst at the think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative, has the details.
Time to rethink transport in Poland
The pandemic may well change our transport habits for the better – at least in cities. Public transport and eventually even cars will be increasingly shunned in favour of bicycles. Michał Olszewski reports from Warsaw, Poland.
Eastern Greater Poland: An Energy Transition Trailblazer
As the first of the country’s six coal regions to start planning its coal phase-out, Eastern Greater Poland is the undisputed leader in Poland’s just energy transition. For 80 years, the region’s industry has revolved around lignite, but Eastern Greater Poland has ambitions not only to change the status quo with regard to coal, but also to serve as an example for the rest of the nation. Grass-roots projects lie at the heart of their new approach to energy. Agata Skrzypczyk has the story.
A cry in the desert: Poland wakes up to climate debate
Too late, too slow, too stifled, but it has arrived: Climate policy is finally taking centre-stage in the public debate. Michał Olszewski reports from Poland.