Poland has imposed a ban on coal imports from Russia, in response to its invasion of Ukraine earlier in February.
“We cannot wait any longer for the decision of the European Union,” said the government spokesman, Piotr Mueller, adding to be aware of the risks that such a decision could bring, like being hauled before the Court of Justice of the EU.
“We do realise that it might be legally questionable,” he pointed out. “These doubts are justified but […] I admit with regret that the EU hasn’t decided on such a measure.”
The ban will not only affect State-owned companies but also private firms and any violation of the ban could result in high fines.
According to the Polish think tank Forum Energii, Poland imports about one-fifth of the coal consumed while the rest is produced domestically. In terms of coal imports to Poland, Russia is the dominant supplier, whose share in 2020 was 75 per cent.
The think tank emphasised how the ban on Russian coal should not in any way disrupt the security of supply. True is that domestic coal is used in power plants to produce electricity and in district heating. Therefore, blocking coal imports should have no impact on maintaining the stability of the electricity supply, especially with the warmer season ahead of us. However, a long-term solution is needed and Poland must diversify its energy supplies to keep ensuring the country’s energy security.
Forum Emergii underlined the importance of further developing renewable energy: the more RES in the system, the lower the consumption of coal and gas. Also, the think tank urged to unlock the development of wind energy while also continuing the support for photovoltaic installations.
Piotr Mueller announced that the energy policy of Poland until 2040 has also been reviewed and it now includes measures to diversify oil and gas sources.
Indeed, renewable energy sources will be among the priorities to reach the point at which about half of the electricity production comes from renewable sources. Not only wind and solar, but also efforts towards further development of hydropower, biomass and biogas will be intensified.
Energy efficiency must also be improved so to reduce the demand for energy (and consequently energy imports). New measures included in the government’s policy refer to the modernisation and renovation of buildings, a reduction of energy use in industry and so on. Regarding the diversification of gas supplies, Poland will speed up the construction of the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) at the LNG terminal in Gdańsk while also expanding gas storage facilities.
The usage of domestic coal might increase in response to security threats, so there is the possibility to modernise current coal units. At the same time, opportunities to use other energy sources will be sought, which are a real alternative to the use of natural gas and coal in the heating sector.
Finally, nuclear energy will be implemented, both by keeping the construction of the first Polish nuclear power plant and by implementing small modular reactors (SMR) in the long term.
Photo: Twitter/Government of Poland.