Poland missed the chance for energy transformation

– Nobody can say unequivocally that we will be safe this winter – said Dorota Niedziółka, a professor at the Warsaw School of Economics, during the XXXI Economic Forum in Karpacz.

Let’s say it right away – Poland in Central and Eastern Europe was no exception. In the “camp” of countries that did not take the green transformation seriously, for example, the Czech Republic is next to us. At the other end of the spectrum is Estonia, which has significantly increased the share of renewable energy in the energy mix in recent years. Although, of course, the fact is that this is a smaller country, has a smaller grid, fewer energy consumers, so it was easier.

– Most Central and Eastern European countries were in line with the EU’s policy by increasing investments in green energy (…) Some countries tried to become independent from Russia in the import of energy carriers. Estonia did it as a consequence – said Dorota Niedziółka.

The former Soviet Union made the countries of its bloc dependent on the supply of its raw materials since the 1960s. In relations with individual countries, it differentiated prices, thus distributing rewards or penalties for loyalty.

– The USSR decided that the gas pipelines would be a tool for influencing the bloc states and building their dependence – said Dorota Niedziółka.

Meanwhile, already in 2005-6 there were signals that Russia would use the infrastructure built several decades earlier for a policy similar to that followed by the USSR.

– There were already experiences in access to media – said the SGH professor.

Therefore, the EU’s policy of declining from fossil fuels and “green” energy transformation was also a policy of independence in energy supplies from Russia. But in our region some countries, including Poland, did not understand this challenge.

Now that Russia has turned off the tap on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline (Poland imports Russian gas from it via Germany), gas prices have broken the ceiling again. But we have a similar problem as with gas, not only with prices, but also with the availability of coal.

– The pandemic and now the war should confirm the decision-makers that we should start implementing an energy security policy. If we are consistent, we will become independent from raw materials from Russia – said Dorota Niedziółka.

An extraordinary summit of the European Union on the energy crisis is to be held on Friday, convened by the Czech presidency. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented a package of proposals to alleviate the crisis.

The proposals include, among others an order to reduce electricity consumption during peak hours, a tax mechanism on extraordinary (above 200 EUR / MWh) revenues of electricity producers with low costs and a maximum price for gas from Russia. Will electricity and gas prices for consumers also be regulated?

– Probably it would be expected by the recipients and it decreased the anxiety about the future – said Dorota Niedziółka.

It does not change the fact that we may even need a longer period of necessary energy conservation and efforts to use it efficiently. This is the only effective strategy for now.

Jacek Ramotowski

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