Summary of the 2nd ON THE GREEN WAY CONFERENCE
Already the second “On The Green Way” conference was held in February. This time we focused on the challenges faced by the Polish energy sector. The special guest, Deputy Minister Adam Guibourgé-Czetwertyński presented the assumptions about the future energy system presented in the strategic document – Polish Energy Policy 2040. The minister emphasised there is a wide range of possibilities for Polish-Scandinavian cooperation in this area.
The transformation planned for the next two decades is supposed to be a path towards a new energy system, similar in size to the current one, but based solely on zero-carbon energy sources. This is a serious challenge, but as mentioned by the deputy minister, its implementation is fully possible in cooperation with the private sector.
STABLE AND CLEAR RULES
Ambassadors of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden stressed the important role of a stable climate policy and cooperation with entrepreneurs in the process of the green transformation.
– A stable climate policy with a horizon exceeding one parliamentary term, in conjunction with the free market, technological development, cooperation of the government, entrepreneurs and citizens will yield tangible results. – said H.E. Stefan Gullgren, the Ambassador of Sweden, recalling the experiences of his country.
H.E. Juha Ottman, Ambssador of Finland, emphasized the key role the business sector plays in the process of changes. As the example of Finland shows, it was entrepreneurs who became the main driving force behind the green transformation. Some sectors have set their own ambitious roadmaps on its journey to climate neutrality. According to H.E. Anders H. Eide, Ambassador of Norway, despite the pandemic crisis investors have never before been more deeply aware of climate change risks. The industry is pushing for changes in order to maintain its competitiveness and market place.
– Nordic companies have been present on the Polish market for years, we can already today indicate many common projects implemented effectively. Among others, the Baltic Pipe Project, which will allow transport of gas from Norway to the Danish and Polish markets as early as 2022. And the natural gas will play important roll as transition element on the way to non-carbon energy system. Danish Ørsted and PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna have signed an agreement to form a 50/50 joint venture for the development, construction, and operation of offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea, Norwegian Equinor together with Polenergia are developing two offshore projects. However, there is still an important potential to exploit – notes Agnieszka Zielińska, Managing Director of the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce.
So what do entrepreneurs need to make the green transformation to be more dynamic and the potential has been unleashed? Marek Roszak, Director of the Energy Department of DNV GL, sees PEP 2040 rather as a preliminary draft:
– This is an important step, but we need a more detailed framework. What is even more important, however, it is not up to the government to give us ready-made plans.
The roadmap for the next years should be a result of joint work of all stakeholders: administration, business, the scientific community and citizens, with the government in the coordinating and supervising role.
The offshore sector has been waiting a long time for proper regulations, this problem has now been solved: on February 18th , the Offshore Act entered into force. Two days earlier, a draft regulation was announced on the maximum price for electricity generated in the offshore wind farm. Michał Kołodziejczyk, President of the Management Board of Equinor Polska, assesses the level of prices specified in the regulation as very ambitious and challenging for the sector, which is why he also points to the need for a multilateral dialogue.
Izabela Van den Bossche, Fortums Vice President of Communications, points to fuel flexibility as an effective way to reduce emissions in district heating. Like in the modern multi-fuel Fortum CHP plant in Zabrze, which use refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and coal. It can also be fueled by biomass. In the case of heating, emission reduction is costly, but technologically relatively simple. The real challenge is heavy industry. In this area, at the current stage of technology advancement CCS seems to be an irreplaceable solution. Carbon capture and storage technology is already used, among others at the Fortum Oslo Varme waste-to-energy plant in Norway.
JUST ENERGY TRANSITION
A challenge for Poland is its dependence on the fossil fuels and the related social context of the energy transition; Deputy Minister Adam Guibourgé-Czetwertyński stressed the importance of a just energy transformation and the role of an appropriate labour market adjustment. The Ambassador of Denmark, Ole Toft mentioned also the same aspect, pointing out the necessity of retraining employees in sectors that will be changed by the energy transformation.
According to the energy mix provided for in PEP 2040, about 11-14 GW of power is to come from offshore wind energy.
Michał Kołodziejczyk estimates this will generate significant investments in the country. It is a potential and an opportunity, also for local suppliers, providing the possibility to create new jobs.
ON THE GREEN WAY
– We cannot afford to be passive at this stage of the climate crisis. For historical reasons, the energy transformation is a great challenge for Poland. Fortunately we can build on experience, good practices and proven technologies, tested e.g. by our northern neighbors. As the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce, through the On The Green Way project, we engage in a green transformation, creating a platform for dialogue, identifying problems and looking for the best solutions. – summarizes Agnieszka Zielińska.