We are presenting some key data on Polish energy sector in 2017, significant from the perspective of changes taking place in Poland.

Main conclusions

  • The Polish power sector is slowly beginning to change.
  • The generating side still remains the least diversified in the European Union.
  • The share of coal in the energy mix decreased to 78.4%, while the position of RES and gas is growing in strength.
  • Due to legislative changes, the development of RES has been suspended since 2016.
  • The diversification of gas supplies results in increased gas consumption.
  • CO2 emissions have increased in recent years, despite a decrease at the beginning of the 1990s.
  • The lack of strategy for development and achievement of goals is the greatest challenge for the Polish power sector.

Electricity production

In 2017, coal was still the dominant electricity source, however, its share decreased by one percentage point compared to 2016 (figure 1).

Due to weather conditions and new power capacities 2017 was a record year in terms of energy production from RES, mainly from wind (approx.
14.9 TWh) and water (approx. 2.6 TWh). Production from gas was also record high – 20% more than in the previous year due to new units (figure 2)

Increased production from lignite was the consequence of extended operating times of these units, not new investment projects (figure 2)

Late power unit delivery in the Kozienice Power Plant did not increase production from hard coal in the National Power System (figure 2)

Initially, low-cost biomass co-firing generation developed at existing coal-fired boilers (figure 3)

Subsequently, as a result of initiated investment projects, production from onshore wind  and dedicated biomass units increased. (figure 3)

Due to a faltering support system in recent years, production from biomass firing units is limited (figure 3)

Energy Balance 

Since 2014, Poland has become a net importer of electricity, mainly as a result of the higher wholesale energy price on the Polish market compared
to markets of neighbouring countries (figure 4).

Emissions

The largest reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Poland occurred at the time of the country’s system transformation. Since 2015, emissions have
started to rise again (figure 5)

The significant decrease in emissions from power plants and combined heat and power plants in the 1990s resulted mainly from the economic
transformation of the country, and the elimination of some industry branches, thus limiting the use of industrial combined heat and power plants (figure 6)

The decrease in heating sector emissions in the 1990s was due to investments made to increase energy efficiency (figure 6)

Power sector fuels

For many years, in the Polish mines, a decrease in production related to the availability of resources and production costs has been observed (figure 7)

The year 2017 showed a reversal of the recent five-year trend of limiting steam coal imports to Poland (figure 8)

Russia remains the main supply partner. (figure 8)

 

Title of analysis: "Energy transition in Poland 2017"
Date of publication: July 2018
Authors: Rafał Macuk, Joanna Maćkowiak Pandera, Andrzej Rubczyński, Forum Energii