The Polish Electricity Association (PKEE) welcomed the European Commission’s strategies aimed at promoting a holistic approach for policies that achieve EU climate-neutral economy in 2050 and develop the key technologies for reaching this objective.
As underlined in the Strategy for Energy System Integration, electricity should remain the key driver of the decarbonisation, as it has significant potential in replacing pollution-generating primary energy sources by more efficient and cleaner alternatives.
Electricity can be applied to multiple sectors, including the heating sector, low-temperature industry and transport sector. Potential benefits stemming from the integration of electricity and gas sectors include the fact that electricity can be used to produce zero-emission hydrogen, which in turn can have several applications in the economy. On the other hand, biomethane can be used in the electricity sector to ensure an efficient, clean and dispatchable back-up for renewable sources. Development of biomethane may also help to avoid the carbon lock-in effect through combustion in the existing gas-fired power plants.
The PKEE also welcomed the Commission’s reflection on offshore wind energy, which is one of the key enabling technologies for transition to a low-emission economy. In particular, the ambitious offshore projects undertaken by the association’s members will speed up the transformation of the Polish energy sector. Now, they are looking forward to a comprehensive strategy and framework for the development of offshore wind facilities in the European Union, which is to reflect the current breakthrough moment for offshore wind investments.
However, in order to increase energy systems flexibility, countries must also implement disruptive technologies ensuring higher flexibility of the grids. In the first place, strong support for the development and extension of smart grids in the EU is needed, which would provide such investments with robust financial and technical support. Digitalisation and the deployment of smart metres can significantly contribute to providing network operators with the information and data necessary for intelligent and efficient system management.
With regard to grid flexibility, the PKEE welcomed also the Commission’s approach to e-mobility which is not limited to transport decarbonisation but is also considered as a flexibility option for energy systems with a high share of renewable energy.
At the same time, the PKEE is of the opinion that while energy transition should focus on direct electrification, this will be not sufficient to fully decarbonise such sectors as heavy-duty transport, steel or chemical production. Hydrogen technologies should be developed and adequately supported, both by the EU and by the Member States, in order to ensure that, in the process of switching from fossil fuels to clean energy, hydrogen complements electrification.
These efforts are also reflected in the ongoing work to develop a Polish Hydrogen Strategy. To this end, the Ministry of Climate and the representatives of the most important energy and transport companies have established a partnership aimed at the creation of a hydrogen-based economy.