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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » October 27, 2011
The Voice of Scandinavia
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Scandinavian Model for Poland’s Energy Policy
October 27, 2011   
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Even though coal accounts for 90 percent of all energy generated in Poland, its role is bound to decrease because the country needs to embrace the European Union’s strict energy and climate policy and retire many of its coal-fired power units. Most of these are over 30 years old. Renewable sources of energy (RSE) will eventually fill the void due to financial support for companies that generate energy from RSE. Under its 3x20 energy policy, the EU is determined to generate 20 percent more of its energy from RSE, decrease its energy consumption by 20 percent, and reduce greenhouses gases by 20 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.

When it comes to RSE, all Polish eyes are primarily focused on Scandinavian countries, which for the last several decades have developed the most efficient methods of generating energy from RSE—this makes up a core part of the energy sector in these countries.

Poland needs new technologies and equipment for the production and conversion of biomass into electrical energy on a large scale. To encourage the development of RSE, Polish legislators have provided the necessary financial support for the production of energy from RSE through the certification of such energy, which is indispensable to tip the scales in RSE’s favor to the detriment of conventional energy. The legislators have also facilitated the development of RSE projects. Similar support mechanisms are offered to companies dealing with a reduction of energy consumption regardless of sector. The ambitious goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent is connected not so much with the adopted EU goal, but largely with price hikes in energy and their influence on the profitability of production. Both enterprises and local communities have already begun introducing energy-efficient solutions or selected technologies that will bring future savings. What’s more, these steps will be rewarded by environmental protection institutions with a host of nonrefundable grants.

One significant problem that Poland will have to face much sooner than in 2020 involves the day-to-day loss of huge amounts of energy in municipal waste dumps across Poland. Despite superficial “recycling,” Poland’s authorities continually fail to effectively segregate waste and with regard to recycling there is only one small incineration plant located in Warsaw. Consequently, in many large cities investment has hastily begun with the aim of constructing municipal waste incineration plants in order to avoid EU-imposed fines and simultaneously obtain recycled energy from waste.The Scandinavian perspective, especially in Denmark and Sweden, is a model example of municipal waste management and recycling policy, which Poland has only just begun to develop on a large scale.

The practical solutions of the Scandinavian countries, resulting from many years of experience, which constitute an example to be followed in terms of energy safety and a high level of environmental protection, may in the years to come be both implemented and developed in Poland should the Scandinavians decide to pay more attention to the potential of Poland’s energy market.

Igor Hanas Polish attorney-at-law based in the Warsaw office of Magnusson law firm
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