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“Low carbon electricity resources” key for Poland’s energy transition, says REA report

The UK’s Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), recently published its third Energy Transition Readiness Index (ETRI) report, assessing the status of 13 “important, leading nations across Europe” – including for the first time, Poland – on their path to achieving their 2030 decarbonisation targets.

In the context of Europe’s drive towards a net-zero future, the report pointed to the need for “rapid growth in flexible low carbon electricity resources” (such as flexible demand or storage) in order to balance generation and consumption and ensure the security of supply when renewable energy is not available. According to the report, investments in flexible resources will also help electricity systems to be to become more efficient and reduce energy bills for customers, with potential savings of 300 euros per customer in 2030.

“The urgent need for low carbon flexibility to displace gas is being highlighted by the current energy crisis, and investment momentum is building as a result,” the report highlighted. However, many barriers remain, both in technology enablers and accessibility to markets. For example, the report recommended “urgently” addressing investment barriers in the existing markets, ranging from grid access, metering, and market rules and IT systems. Looking specifically at Poland, the report identified “barriers to gaining grid access” as “becoming increasingly critical”. The same issue was identified in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.

On low carbon flexibility resources, the report noted that the resources’ growth has also led to new emerging providers of flexibility such as distributed generation, energy storage, demand response and interconnection. As noted further by the report, these new providers can face challenges to investment and deployment due to technical (for example, grid connection constraints) and commercial barriers (for example, restrictive market rules) in accessing flexibility markets.

Poland’s readiness for the green transition

The report’s index ranking is based on “a survey of experts representing investors in flexibility technologies across the different countries/regions selected, followed up by one-to-one interviews to understand the underlying reasons for responses.” In addition, the survey respondents were invited to comment on how the ongoing energy crisis had “an impact on their confidence in the achievement of the energy transition.”

Looking at the “overall readiness” chart, which puts the scores on a scale of five (most transition ready) to one (least transition ready) Poland is placed third on the scale.

The index was made up of three key rankings: the first one about the socio-political support for the energy transition; the second one, about the ability to exploit new technologies and business models; and the last one, about open market access for low carbon flexibility services.

In the first ranking, which assessed whether the socio-political background was supportive of, or an impediment to, investment, Poland ranked the lowest. According to the survey participants, Poland lacks a clear net-zero “roadmap” and the roles of individual industry members in the energy transition; whilst public social and economic acceptance of the transition “may not be so well understood or accepted”; with “weaker commitments to delivering the regulatory reform necessary to incentivise investment in flexibility resources”.

In the second ranking, looking at whether the technology landscape was an enabler of or an impediment to, investment, Poland was also found at the bottom of the chart. For example, as alluded to above, Poland was ranked the lowest in grid accessibility suggesting that it may “have technical or operational barriers that inhibit the application of distributed flexibility services”.

However, in the third ranking, which assessed whether energy market regulation and operation were supportive of, or an impediment to, investment – Poland was ranked significantly higher (fourth on the scale). The ranking was particularly based on regulatory arrangements and market rules, market trading arrangements and market transaction costs.

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