The European Green Deal is one of the priorities of the European Commission. Will it be postponed a bit due to the escalation of the war in Ukraine?
No. The European Green Deal is a long-term strategy for the development of the European Union; its implementation is necessary and in the vital interest of the entire European economy. As far as Poland is concerned, this applies in particular to the energy sector. If we had been investing more in RES and changing the proportions in the energy mix for years, we would have been paying less for electricity today.
The medium and long term does not invalidate the short-term priorities. We have to survive the coming winter. Energy security in the short term wins out over sustainability. In the long term, energy independence of Poland and Europe can largely be addressed by renewable energy sources and a shift towards green energy.
The ongoing conflict has further confirmed the need for an urgent and fundamental transformation. The events of recent months have made it clear that energy independence based on low- and zerocarbon sources is not only the answer to the climate challenge but also a matter of security and economic stability. It is also a foundation to drive the development and competitiveness of the Community.
The banking sector has been encouraging the public and companies to take care of the environment with various mechanisms for years. Are they still popular in the era of high interest rates and financial uncertainty?
From the perspective of BOŚ, the interest in green projects in the four main sectors – energy, construction, transport, and industry – is not waning. The interest in renewable energy sources is clearly noticeable, especially in the energy sector. This is, paradoxically, due to high energy prices, which make it easier to finance green projects, even with high interest rates.
There are several concurrent trends. Wind or photovoltaic farms already in operation are reducing their debt as far as possible. Furthermore, the withdrawal from new energy projects is not a very strong trend.
At what stage is Poland in the process of changing its electricity generation?
There is a wide debate on this topic. We also know what decisions should be taken to unlock development, especially with respect to onshore wind energy. The upcoming liberalisation of the 10H Act is highly anticipated by the sector. The development of offshore wind energy is also progressing in big steps. In the next few years, it will be one of the main investment themes for both existing and new investors in Poland. This would increase the attractiveness of the Polish energy sector.
There are also activities at the micro level, such as those in which BOŚ participates, i.e. the promotion of electromobility under the “My Electric” programme. BOŚ is the main entity distributing funds from the National Environmental Protection Fund to leasing companies in this area. Since the start of the programme in September 2021, we have awarded grants for almost PLN 100 million. Also, the existing “Clean Air” programme should continue.
Long-term goals coincide with short-term priorities. This winter, we will enjoy heating our homes, regardless of the energy source. However, the shift towards low-carbon energy and thermal modernisation is desired by consumers and inevitable in the long term.
Overall, the transformation of the domestic energy sector is a long-term but progressive process. In 2010, as much as 86.6% of electricity generated in domestic power plants came from coal, compared to 70.8% last year. Meanwhile, the share of RES in the energy mix increased from 6.9 to 16.9%. We hope that these proportions will change even faster in the coming years, but this will require more friendly legislation and large investments.
The modernisation of the power grid is also a significant matter. It is not just a question of upgrading it. We should focus on making it more distributed and adapting it to regional conditions, particularly in terms of RES. Greater distribution also means greater security.
Back to the winter we want to survive. Coal prices are high and gas is getting more expensive. Is the increased smog level a likely scenario?
Following the assurances of decision-makers, I believe that energy resources will be available as needed. Energy security, as a matter of priority, and Russia’s aggressive behaviour are forcing all of Europe to take short-term precautions. A deliberate energy crisis resulting in high energy prices will not last forever. Ultimately, the countries that will vigorously embark on the path of green transformation will turn the situation to their advantage. I am convinced that Poland is one of them.
- Recorder by Grzegorz Balawender
Partner: BOŚ Bank