Electricity

Failing to switch from coal to wind and solar could cost every Polish family EUR 170 per year by 2030

instrat study poland coal increases electricity bills

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December 9, 2021

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Published:

December 9, 2021

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According to a report by the Polish Instrat Foundation, if Poland continues to use coal for electricity production, the household energy bills from 2030 to 2040 will be increased annually by 50 percent or about 170 euros. However, if the energy is obtained mainly from wind farms and solar power plants, the bills would be 20 percent lower or between 108 to 168 euros.

The Instrat report proposes a scenario of increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix to 70 percent compared to 32 percent as provided by the current Polish Energy Policy for 2040 (PEP2040).

A 70 percent of RES share in the energy mix by 2030 is possible to achieve, and it is in line with EU climate goals, states in the report.

Such a development will also require spending on grid infrastructure and additional system costs. In the Instrat scenario, between 2021 and 2040, investments in distribution grids will have to increase from the planned 38 billion euros to 52 billion euros, and transmission networks will need an additional 2.2 billion euros.

The costs of introducing green power plants are lower than those needed to continue operating thermal power plant

Increased investments will not burden household budgets due to lower costs of green energy production. While in the case scenario of implementing the planned government energy policy, prices in the coming years will be more affected by the costs of maintaining coal and gas power plants.

Paveł Czizak, a co-author of the report, says that some increase in the price of electricity is inevitable, but it does not have to be huge.

Households can save 108-178 euros a year in the period 2030-2040 if the government listens to experts and makes it possible development of renewable energy sources, he pointed out.

Czizak emphasized that further dependence on the economy on fossil fuels will cause the current high prices to rise. The only way to avoid that is to quickly change the structure of the energy mix and increase the share of green energy.

Green energy variability is not an issue

instrat study poland coal increases electricity bills renewables
Annual electricity costs per household (in PLN; 1 PLN=0.22 EUR)

Contrary to common fears, the variability of renewable energy production does not pose a threat to the National Energy System (CSE). With the energy mix proposed by the Institute, there is no shortage and complete cessation of the supply of energy from wind and solar at any time. Moreover, these two forms of RES can independently cover the entire energy demand during 47 percent of the year, or more than 4,000 hours a year.

Coal-fired power plants would help balancing the power system

The green mix would not cause an increase in energy imports either. By 2040, their volume would be decreased by half, compared to 2020. According to the calculations of Instrat experts, only during 44 hours of the year, net imports would temporarily exceed the currently recorded peaks, and the maximum load in cross-border links would remain at the current level. According to the proposal and scenario of Instrat, coal-fired plants help balance and occasionally connect to the power system. It also reduces investment in potentially unprofitable new gas-fired power plants.

Only green energy can provide the missing quantities of electricity and prevent interruptions in the supply

The implementation of PEP2040 will cause high energy prices and the risk of power outages. This is indicative and has been taken into account in government strategies. According to the scenarios implied by PEP2040, there is a potential gap in the energy balance due to decommissioning of obsolete coal-fired plants and stagnation in RES implementation.

“Any delay in the construction of the nuclear power plant and the realization of gas projects will lead to a shortage of electricity.”. Only the dynamic development of renewable energy sources will fill this gap,” said Adrianna Wrona, co-author of the report.

The report also makes recommendations on correcting the shortcomings of the existing regulations that would protect consumers, ensure energy security and counteract high energy prices.

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