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Poland hit record 47% energy import in recent years, report says

Poland’s import of energy hit a record of 43 per cent in 2021, which has been rising since 2013, according to a new Energy Transition in Poland report by the Polish think-tank Forum Energii.

According to the report’s data from 2013-2022, crude oil was the most import-dependent source of energy (96-97 per cent) in Poland. In 2022, the estimated import dependency for natural gas was 78 per cent, 4 percentage points lower than in 2021. Nevertheless, it increased by 8 per cent (6 percentage points) over 10 years, the report said.

In the report, import dependency is defined as the ratio of imported energy to final energy consumption. In 2013, the total dependence of the country’s economy on energy imports was 32 per cent.

“This year, the government should prepare an update of the PEP (Poland’s Energy Policy) and the NERP (National Energy and Climate Action Plan). These documents should not only respond to the current situation but also should be subject to public consultation—this was always the case in the past, but now there is no willingness to discuss it. This is particularly important now when we can see the turning point in the Polish energy sector. Without consultation, the document will be perceived as unreliable, especially in the context of the elections,” said Dr Joanna Mackowiak-Pandera, President of Forum Energii.

Import dependence on hard coal stood at 19 per cent in 2022, according to Forum Energii’s estimates. This represents a decrease of 1-2 percentage points relative to 2021. However, it has increased by 18 percentage points in the last 10 years, the think tank said.

The cost of fossil fuel imports has also significantly increased in recent years. In 2022, fossil fuel import costs reached a record high of 193 billion złotych (42.5 billion euros). In 2011, this figure stood at 102 billion złotych (22.4 billion euros).

Poland returns to net power exports

In 2022, Poland’s GDP grew by around 4.9 per cent, while electricity consumption fell by 1.9 per cent. In the past decade, the Polish economy grew by 28 per cent, with power consumption increasing by 10.7 per cent.

Last year, Poland became a net power exporter for the first time since 2015, with exports amounting to 1.68 terawatts per hour (TWh). This shift towards exports can be attributed to lower prices on the Polish wholesale market, due to a lower cost of producing electricity from renewables and coal than from natural gas in neighbouring countries, the report said.

Poland mainly imports electricity from Germany, Sweden, Lithuania and Ukraine while exporting to Czechia and Slovakia.

On renewable energy, the report highlighted that despite the increase in achievable capacity, controllable dispatchable capacity is decreasing, which increases the risk of system imbalance. Recently, the Polish power system operator, Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne issued two separate warnings due to an oversupply of renewable energy generation.

The role of renewables in electricity generation is increasing, and the importance of new demand sources is also growing, the report said. “Through record high commodity prices, electricity consumption has fallen, and Poland has become a net exporter of electricity,” it added.

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