Poland for energy transition but will continue coal, official says
Poland will not withdraw from energy transition, but will also continue investing in coal energy, a deputy prime minister said on Monday.
Jacek Sasin, minister for state assets and a deputy prime minister, said in Katowice (southern Poland) that the Russia-Ukraine war made it necessary for Poland to review an earlier energy strategy which assumed the closedown of coal energy by the EU-set 2049 target.
On November 4, 2021, Poland also signed the 'Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement,' which included an agreement to phase out coal power from major economies in the 2030s and the rest of the world in the 2040s.
Sasin said Poland intended to carry on with energy transition, but will have to continue and even raise its use of coal energy in the coming years because of the war.
"The situation is different today. We know that we will need coal for much longer, and more of it than until now," Sasin told a sitting of the Provincial Social Dialogue Council called to discuss the impact of the Ukraine war on the energy sector.
Sasin said the war in Ukraine made it necessary for the EU to rethink its entire energy and climate policy, and admitted Poland was thinking about extending coal energy beyond 2049, when it could function as a "stabiliser" for the national energy sector.
Sasin said Poland's decision to embargo coal imports from Russia forced it to rely on its own resources, which will call for major investment. He also warned that raised investment in coal power will mean less spending on gas energy, but gave his assurance that gas projects already underway will be continued.
Later on Monday, a spokesperson for the State Assets Ministry told PAP that Poland planned to raise its coal consumption above the pre-war level, but intended to keep to the 2049 coal energy closedown deadline.
Coal constitutes between 65 and 70 percent of Poland’s energy mix, and its share has been declining for several years.