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Poland launches “Clean Air 2.0” programme

The Polish Government announced the launch of an updated version of the Clean Air Programme, simplifying the procedures for financing the modernisation of obsolete heating systems and the better insulation of homes. The programme aims to improve air quality in Poland, said to be one of the worst in Europe causing the premature death of as many as 44,000 people each year, according to the European Environment Agency.

The programme earmarking 23 billion euros debuted in September 2018 and expected to run until 2029 with the objective of curbing emissions by providing support for heating system modernisation and better insulation for homes.

“We have taken decisive action to eliminate low emissions and improve air quality in Polish cities and smaller towns,” President of the Republic, Andrzej Duda pointed out when announcing the launch of the updated programme.

The Minister of Climate Michał Kurtyka underlined that the government intensified its efforts to reduce emissions and renewed its commitment to subsidise the program to best match it with the needs of its prospective beneficiaries. Simplified rules of awarding subsidies are expected to cut the red tape and increase the involvement of municipalities that from now on will be responsible for issuing certificates confirming the right to increased funding.

“Beneficiaries could obtain subsidies based on their household income, up to 20,000 zloties (4,400 euros) in the basic version and up to 32,000 zloties (7,100 euros) for people in more difficult financial situation,” said Piotr Woźny, Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for the Clean Air Programme and the President of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.

In addition, the Clean Air Programme is closely linked to the My Electricity Programme, which now offers subsidies up to 5,000 zloties (1,100 euros) for installing photovoltaic power generation, without the requirement of submitting two separate applications.

The highest subsidies will be granted to projects, which are emission-free or lead to the reduction of carbon emissions, such as the installation of heat pumps and photovoltaic systems.

The subsidy application was simplified by shortening the deadlines for awarding grants from 90 to 30 days and offering the possibility of submitting applications online. The new program is also expected to increase the involvement of the banking sector as a source of complementary and bridging financing to accelerate the implementation.

Previous studies have shown that the main source of air pollution in Poland are the so-called low-stack emissions, those caused by burning coal and other solid fuels in single-family buildings, meaning that the most effective way of reducing smog (as well as carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere) is to replace older and sub-standard boilers with gas boilers, new-generation solid fuel boilers, or heat pumps.

The Clean Air Program is designed to reach 4.5 million households around Poland over the next ten years. However, the World Bank warns that only a broad and efficient distribution network for the Program will be capable of reaching nearly half a million homes per year and a noticeable improvement in air quality.

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