Watts up: major power company aiming to increase green energy output

PGE plans to launch a programme that will ultimately produce 2.5 GW of photovoltaic power. Maciej Kulczyński/PAP

Amid rising concern about climate change in Europe and beyond, Polish power company PGE is turning its attention to solar energy, with plans to increase photovoltaic power to 2.5 GW.

The EU has been urging member states to increase energy from renewable sources such as solar energy, wind and biomass. In 2017, 17.5 percent of energy consumed in the EU came from renewable sources, according to Eurostat.

The power company currently generates 43 percent of Poland's electricity.Krzysztof Świderski/PAP

Now the EU wants at least 20 percent of its total energy needs to be covered by renewables in 2020, through countries reaching individual national targets, which vary considerably. Sweden already gets more than 50 percent of its energy from renewables – though in Norway and Iceland (which are not members of the EU) the percentage is over 70 percent. In Poland, just under 11 percent of its energy came from renewables in 2017.

Poland continues to get most of its energy from coal, but production from solar energy is increasing, notes a report by Warsaw-based think-tank Forum Energii published this month.

Along with solar energy PGE will invest in wind farms.Leszek Wdowiński/PAP

Although photovoltaic panels accounted for just 1.3 percent of total installed capacity in Poland in 2018 (and all renewables for 19.2 percent), their capacity increased by over 80 percent compared to the previous year, according to the report.

In this context, the state-owned Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), which generates 43 percent of electricity in Poland, wants to ramp up solar energy production.

“500 MW in photovoltaics does not satisfy our ambitions. We will launch a programme that will ultimately give us 2.5 GW of photovoltaic power," said the company’s deputy CEO Ryszard Wasiłek at the National Energy Summit in Gdańsk this week.

As it stands, 9 percent of energy from renewables in Poland is generated by PGE. The company wants to increase that to 25 percent by 2030, according to its strategy.Marcin Bielecki/PAP

As it stands, 9 percent of energy from renewables in Poland is generated by PGE. The company wants to increase that to 25 percent by 2030, according to its strategy.

To achieve this goal, it plans to invest in onshore and offshore wind power, among other renewable sources.