On Friday (10 November), Poland’s main opposition parties which are expected to form the country’s next government signed a 13-page coalition agreement, outlining the parties’ common legislative agenda in 24 declarative points.
The 8th declarative point is dedicated to climate and energy policies and begins with the following statement: “The accelerating climate crisis is an undeniable fact, just as it is undeniable that human activities are its main cause. We will cooperate jointly to counteract climate change and limit its impact on the lives of Polish residents.”
In the document, the coalition parties pledge to “accelerate the green energy transformation,” with the aim of increasing the share of renewables in electricity production. The prospective government aims to achieve this increase through, among other areas, “unlocking the potential of onshore wind energy, photovoltaics, biogas plants, promoting competition and involving the private and local government sectors.” Here, it is important to note the mention of biogas – a highly ranked area for one of the coalition partners Poland 2050.
Moreover, the specific mention of onshore wind energy may suggest approval of the biggest coalition partner’s (Civic Coalition) proposal to further liberalise the current onshore energy regulatory framework, which would include a new 500 metres distance from which wind farms can be built.
Subsequently, the 8th point noted: “Simultaneously, we will outline the principles for a comprehensive nuclear energy development program and precisely determine its financing method.” The mention of nuclear energy in this context may not be a surprise, as all the political formations running in the recent parliamentary elections signalled a general consensus on support for nuclear energy, despite greater scepticism from parties like The Left who are now coalition partners.
The coalition parties also note plans to modernise and expand the country’s transmission and distribution networks. This is another policy area that has enjoyed strong political backing across the political spectrum, including from the currently ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.
To finance the above projects, the coalition has pledged to unlock funds from Poland’s EU Recovery and Resilience Facility plan and allocate all revenues from the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Poland is among the member states with the highest revenues from EU ETS – In 2021, the country noted the highest revenues in the whole bloc.
The coalition agreement further stated: “We will ensure low energy prices for households and businesses based on mechanisms of healthy competition and clear market operating principles. One of the market’s foundations will be prosumer energy, providing millions of citizens with the opportunity to participate in the energy production process.” The mention of prosumer support comes as no surprise, which featured in policy programmes of both the Civic Coalition and the Third Way, two out of the three coalition partners of the new government.
Perhaps most surprising is the double mention of the Just Transition, considering its political sensitivity throughout the elections. In the first paragraph of the 8th declarative point, the document stated: “We will establish stable laws supporting a just energy transition through the creation of financial and technological support systems.” At the same time, the last section of the 8th point read: “We confirm the willingness to engage in dialogue and respect the agreements made with the social partners. We will ensure a just transition, taking into account the security of workers in the energy sector.”
However, whilst plans to establish “stable laws” may signal a potential shake-up in the current regulatory framework on the coal phase-out, it may still be too early to speculate on any realistic scenarios until the first policy documents are released.