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PGNiG: Poland’s shift towards a low-carbon economy is not feasible without natural gas

Speaking at the climate neutrality panel of the 590 Congress, Paweł Majewski, President of the Management Board of PGNiG talked about the initiatives Poland’s dominant gas firm will undertake to support the ongoing energy transition of Poland’s economy.

“We are aware that in the long term natural gas is also set to be affected by the unfolding decarbonisation processes,” started Mr Majewski. However, he added that in Poland the shift towards a low- and zero-carbon economy is not feasible without natural gas, this is why PGNiG’s goal is to achieve climate neutrality in the long term.

“The unveiling of our new strategy, which is already in the works, will be an opportunity to announce detailed plans for the PGNiG Group’s decarbonisation by 2050,” said Mr Majewski. “Meanwhile, in the coming years, we will focus on making our low-carbon fuel more widely available and on launching key projects related to the so-called green gases, that is biomethane and hydrogen.”

The first step: reducing emissions

Until 2026, PGNiG intends to reduce emissions. To help bridge Poland’s energy transition, PGNiG wants to increase the availability of natural gas for Polish households by continuing its grid roll-out work. Enabling households to replace coal with natural gas as a heating fuel contributes to the reduction of emissions on the customer side. PGNiG said that in 2020 they installed 112,000 new grid connections.

At the same time, PGNiG is dedicated to reducing the carbon intensity of its own processes, primarily in the heat and power generation segment, partially replacing coal with natural gas and other cleaner fuels. The company is considering a mix of measures, including the construction of a multi-fuel power unit and gas-fired generation sources.

PGNiG also has a pipeline of energy efficiency projects and plans to develop its commercial offerings of CNG and LNG. Concerning renewable energy sources, PGNiG’s target is to achieve a combined installed capacity from its wind and PV assets of 900 megawatts (MW) in a timeframe extending beyond 2022.

The second step: eliminating emissions

On the horizon of long-term decarbonisation initiatives, PGNiG plans to step up projects involving biomethane production and grid injection, expansion of RES capacities and use of hydrogen, mainly for the purpose of energy storage inside salt caverns. The use of local geothermal sources is also a viable option.

Paweł Majewski highlighted that PGNiG intends to take advantage of available funding opportunities, including the Modernisation Fund, the Just Transition Fund and a pool of funds dedicated to important projects of common European interest (IPCEI) to secure funding for its initiatives that are designed to back climate neutrality ambitions.

“Within the next few years, Poland will receive 770 billion zloties [approximately 169 billion euro] of EU funds, a sizeable part of which will be allocated to environmental protection and energy transition projects, with PGNiG among their major beneficiaries,” said the President of the PGNiG Management Board.

By tapping these funds, PGNiG will seek to implement projects designed to altogether eliminate emissions. In its own industrial processes, the company plans to gradually replace fossil fuels with renewables and feed biomethane and hydrogen into its gas grid.

Seeking to eliminate emissions on the customer side, PGNiG will promote a shift away from the use of fossil fuels for domestic heating towards heat pumps and local geothermal heat plants, among other solutions.

“PGNiG has embarked on a path of green transition, from which there is no turning back, but we remember that in Poland natural gas is supposed to be a bridge fuel towards a zero-carbon future,” concluded Mr Majewski.

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