Energy sector data for 2020

Energy sector data

We are presenting some key data on Polish energy sector in 2020, significant from the perspective of changes taking place in Poland. The data comes from the report "Energy Transition in Poland. Edition 2021".

Main conclusions

  • The share of coal in electricity generation fell below 70% in 2020.
  • On the other hand, the share of RES increased thanks to prosumer photovoltaics and onshore wind power plants. There was also an increase in gas-fired cogeneration units.
  • Installed photovoltaic capacity rose to 4 GW.
  • Electricity generation declined by 3.8% and demand decreased by 2.1%.
  • Net imports of electricity reached a record 13.3 TWh, accounting for 7.8% of electricity consumption in Poland.
  • Both consumption and production of steam coal declined. Coal reserves increased, reaching 15 million tonnes at the end of 2020.

Generation capacity

  • The share of achievable capacity of lignite and hard-coal power plants decreased to 65% (from 70%). This is a result of the construction of new gas units and RES sources. 
  • Renewable energy sources account for more than 24% of capacity.


  • The increase in coal-fired power plant capacity is mainly due to the commissioning of a 910 MW block at the Jaworzno power plant.
  • A 450 MW gas-steam block at the Stalowa Wola power plant was commissioned.
  • The decrease in the capacity of the lignite-fired power plant results from the decommissioning of blocks at the Pątnów power plant.
  • Solar energy developed significantly in 2020.


  • The level of available capacity in conventional thermal power plants has increased in recent years. This is a result of the completion of recent coal-fired blocks in Kozienice, Opole, and Jaworzno, as well as the development of gas-fired cogeneration.
  • The share of RES capacity also has been systematically increasing.


  • At the end of 2020, 12.5 GW was installed as RES, including 4 GW in photovoltaic installations. This is 2.5 GW more than the year before.
  • RES development in 2020 was driven by the rapidly growing number of prosumers and the commissioning of large-scale solar and onshore wind power plants built with the support of the RES auction system.

Electricity production

  • The share of coal in electricity generation was 69.7%, down 3.9 p.p. from 2019.
  • The share of RES in electricity production reached 17.7%.
  • The importance of gas increased, its share in the energy mix rose to 10.1% compared to 8.8% in 2019.


  • In 2020, energy production from coal collapsed, mainly hard coal but also lignite. In contrast, power generation from other sources increased.
  • The significant reduction in the use of coal was due to a decline in energy demand because of the pandemic, the deteriorating competitiveness of domestic generation, cheap energy imports, and an increase in generation from other sources.


  • Electricity production in 2020 decreased by 3.8%. The decrease in generation from hard coal is particularly notable. Lower generation in lignite was due to, among other things, unit decommissioning.
  • This was the second consecutive year of decreasing domestic production.
  • Declining competitiveness of coal-fired generation reduces the use of domestic resources.


  • In 2020, nearly 28 TWh of electricity from RES was produced. Despite another growing and record-breaking year, the share of RES in energy production is lower than the level that meets EU obligations for 2020.
  • The most dynamic growth was observed in photovoltaics. Electricity production from PV grew in 2020 and was 3.5 times higher than in 2019.

Energy balance

  • Electricity production in 2020 was at a decade-low: 157.7 TWh.
  • Net energy imports increased to 13.3 TWh, accounting for 7.8% of consumption.


  • The year 2020 was marked by the first recession in the Polish economy in 30 years. GDP fell by 2.8% and energy demand by 2.1%.


  • Peak power demand in the winter period is growing at a slower rate. In 2020, it was around 26.5 GW, only 0.03 GW more than in the previous year. This is due to a warming climate.
  • Peak power demand in the summer period fell to 23 GW.  This was due, on the one hand, to lower electricity consumption in the first months of the pandemic and, on the other hand, to the increasing influence of prosumers on the power balance.


  • In 2019, GHG emissions decreased by 5.3% y/y and amounted to 390.67 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
  • Emissions of these gases are also estimated to decrease by at least 3% y/y in 2020.


  • The electric power industry saw a sharp decline in GHG emissions in 2019, mainly due to a reduction in coal-fired power plant output, increased generation from cleaner sources, and increased energy imports.
  • In 2020, emissions are estimated to decline by about 7.4%.

Electricity prices

  • Electricity prices in Poland have been the highest in the region for many years and not even the pandemic has changed that.


  • As of 2018, prices in the Day-Ahead Market and the Forward Market no longer closely follow each other. This is related to the growing importance of imports and the decline in the competitiveness of domestic generation resources.
  • After declines in the second quarter of 2020, the increase in energy demand caused a significant increase in prices in the Day-Ahead Market.

Power sector fuels

  • In 2020, hard-coal production fell by about 7.7 million tonnes compared to 2019. This downward trend has continued for years.  The reduction in power generation from conventional power plants is strongly affecting the demand for this fuel.


  • In 2020, steam coal imports totalled about 10.5 million tonnes, about 2.4 million tonnes less than in 2019.
  • More than 83% of the imported coal came from Russia, with the remainder mainly from Colombia and Kazakhstan.


  • The downward trend in both production and consumption of steam coal continued in 2020. 
  • The quality and price advantage of imported fuel makes it necessary to store unsold domestic coal; its reserves amounted to about 15 million tonnes.


  • High-methane gas consumption amounted to. 18.17 bcm—0.96 bcm more than a year earlier.
  • The use of nitrogenous gas remained stable at around 3.7 bcm per year.


  • The largest consumer of gas in Poland is industry, consuming 51.4%.
  • The largest increase in demand for gas in 2020 was in transport and services.


  • 44% of gas imports come from the East and are steadily declining.
  • In 2019, the importance of supplies from other directions has once again increased significantly, mainly thanks to contracts for the purchase of liquefied natural gas.
  • Domestic production of high-methane natural gas, which covers about one-fifth of the demand for this fuel, is slowly decreasing year on year.


  • The Polish steam coal price index (PSCMI) has been rising for years, reducing the competitiveness of domestic production.
  • At the end of 2018, the domestic PSCMI index has surpassed the ARA API2 index.


Title of analysis: "Energy transition in Poland. 2021 edition"
Date of publication: March 2021
Author: Michał Jędra, Forum Energii

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