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The Warsaw Voice » Business » September 17, 2008
ENERGY
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New Power Policy Unveiled
September 17, 2008 By Andrzej Ratajczyk   
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An energy sector predominately based on domestic raw materials, increased use of renewable energy, competitive fuel and energy markets, and a reduced environmental impact of the power sector-these are the priorities of the Polish government's energy policy until 2030.

The new policy, unveiled by the economy ministry in early September, is still subject to debate and consultations and its final version will be ready by the end of the year.

The blueprint marks a radical change in the government's approach to using domestic sources of raw materials. Poland's energy security must be based on its own deposits, particularly coal, under the new policy. This will make the country's electricity and heat production to a large extent independent from outside suppliers, the ministry says.

With regard to oil, liquid fuels and natural gas, the policy calls for greater diversification in terms of both technology and suppliers. "We will support the development of technologies allowing for the production of liquid and gas fuels from domestic sources," said Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak.

Experts say Poland should increase its energy generation capacity if it wants to meet demand for electricity at home. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emission limits require Poland to switch to low-emission technologies in power generation. That is why the economy ministry wants to develop coal-based power generation methods that help reduce air pollution. This includes a substantial reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Nuclear power mooted
Poland will consider launching nuclear power generation in the future, Pawlak said. The country is already involved in the construction of the Ignalina II nuclear power plant in Lithuania, in a joint Lithuanian-Polish-Latvian-Estonian project that is scheduled to be completed by around 2015. Besides Poland could also work with Ukraine, which plans to build several new nuclear power plants and has offered Poland a share in one of these projects, according to Joanna Strzelec-Łobodzińska, an adviser to Pawlak.

Economy ministry experts say renewable energy sources are of major significance to meeting the key guidelines of the country's energy policy. Renewable energy has a positive environmental impact and stimulates the development of economically weaker regions, the ministry says.

"We want to focus on promoting biofuels, particularly among people living in big cities," said Pawlak. "We also plan to increase the use of geothermal energy, which is abundant in Poland."

The new policy gives priority to energy efficiency. The economy ministry plans to "stimulate efficiency-oriented developments" in the generation, transmission, distribution and consumption of energy. To this end, the ministry will offer a range of instruments, including a "white certificate" system, to guarantee financial benefits for energy savers.

An effective reform of the energy sector will depend on developing competitive fuel and energy markets, which will help cut generation costs and reduce the growth of fuel and energy prices, Pawlak said. The ministry intends to put an end to the country's dependence on a single supplier for natural gas and oil. It also wants to change the rules of trading electricity and launch market mechanisms to determine the prices of heat.

"We cannot excessively interfere with the development of the fuel and energy markets by means of administrative decisions," said Pawlak. "We want to make it easier for energy consumers to switch to a different supplier for electric energy and natural gas." Poland should stick with the rule followed across the European Union for separating energy generation from transmission and distribution in terms of ownership, Pawlak said.
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