Poland has made commendable efforts to develop a solid energy policy framework over the last years. As energy security is a high policy priority, the country is enhancing gas supply security by building an LNG terminal, expanding underground storage capacity and increasing domestic gas production. Polish plans for developing electricity and gas cross-border links will also contribute to regional security of supply. In addition, the government has announced an ambitious nuclear programme by 2030, envisaging the first unit to enter operation by 2022. Other achievements include energy intensity improvements, an increased share of renewables and a stronger focus on energy research and development (R&D).
Despite these positive developments, there is room for improving Poland’s energy strategy. First, a more integrated energy and climate policy is needed to put Poland firmly on a low-carbon path while enhancing energy security. Second, energy policy could put more emphasis on promoting competition to make the energy markets more efficient. Decarbonising Poland’s power sector will be a particularly significant challenge requiring huge investments. Coal accounts for 55% of Polish primary energy supply and 92% of electricity generation, raising significant climate change and environmental challenges. To this end, Poland’s efforts to improve energy efficiency and to diversify the country’s energy mix are praiseworthy and should be pursued. The government’s attention to R&D on clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS) is also encouraging. The government could put more focus on the positive role that gas can play in decarbonising the electricity mix, especially if Poland’s potential resources of unconventional gas are confirmed. To tap these resources, it will be vital to put the necessary legal and regulatory framework in place.
This in-depth review analyses the energy challenges facing Poland and provides sectoral critiques and recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to help guide the country towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.