Low-carbon displaces coal in Poland's plan

21 August 2014

Poland will reduce dependence on brown and black coal by introducing nuclear power and renewables, according a draft energy policy to 2050 released for consultation.

The Polish government put forward two main scenarios for future energy supply. Both see nuclear power introduced in 2020 and expanding to become "an important element of the energy sector after 2025", along with renewable sources.

Belchtow coal mine and power plant (Greenpeace Polska - Bogusz Bilewski) 460x300.jpg
Belchtow coal mine and power plant (Image: Greenpeace Polska - Bogusz Bilewski)

One forecast has nuclear power producing 50 TWh per year from 2035 - in line with the government's ambition to build two nuclear power plants with capacity of 3000 MWe each. At the same time, renewables grow to about 60 TWh per year in 2035 and on to about 75 TWh by 2050.

Another scenario has nuclear growing more quickly and by 2050 producing 74 TWh per year, while renewables expand more gradually to 49 TWh in 2050.

What both scenarios have in common is that the total low-carbon generation from nuclear and renewables reaches around 125 TWh per year in 2050, and the consumption of coal drops by close to 40%.

Poland's plan for new nuclear is being taken forward by PGE EJ1, a project company of Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), which owns 70% of the shares on its own and through a nuclear subsidiary. Equal 10% stakes in PGE EJ1 are held by copper miner KGHM, and power utilities Tauron Polska Energia and ENEA.

Presently brown and black coal fuels over 90% of Polish electricity, and the country suffers some of the worst air quality in Europe. According to the European Environment Agency, concentrations of damaging PM10 particulates, which can cause cardiovascular and respiratory problems, regularly exceed daily and annual limits in cities.

The Polish government published the draft energy policy to 2050 on 14 August and the consultation runs until 1 September.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News