How to Create a Profitable Polish Electricity System

A near-term transition from coal appears inevitable, towards zero-coal generation by the mid-2030s. However, Poland could seek to delay such a transition, for example to develop new coal mines and extend coal generation into the 2050s. That approach would probably burden the state and energy consumers with the bailout costs of a subsequent mandated, premature retirement of coal mines and power plants. The debate over Poland’s next steps is coming to a head, after the country published in December 2019 the final version of its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), which sets out the country’s energy mix targets for 2030, as required under European Union law. In addition, the government has published a draft Polish Energy Policy, or PEP40, extending the NECP targets to 2040. Poland’s biggest utility, majority state-owned PGE, has recently signalled a new commitment to renewables, with more ambitious targets for example for offshore wind and solar PV. The company states that it is presently preparing a 1 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind project to bid in offtake tenders, and is targeting a total 2.5 GW of offshore wind and 2.5 GW of solar PV by 2030.