Clean Coal Technologies – unreal vision of rescuing Polish coal

Clean Coal Technologies – unreal vision of rescuing Polish coal

Shock will await the Polish energy sector in the years to come, which can strongly affect the public opinion. Rescue plan for the Polish mining sector based on clean coal technologies is a slogan which has nothing to do with the current  financial and technical capabilities. It is possible that we will have to buy energy from the neighbours.  They are forecasts, which have been presented at a seminar organised by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation.  The special guest of the discussion was Professor Konrad Świrski .

Coal has no chance to meet EU standards. The main problem Poland faces is the EU climate policy, which sets the framework for the development of the energy sector. The most important is the emissions trading system (ETS). According to Professor Świrski ‘ETS system is a death sentence for the Polish mining industry.’

A very important point which is necessary for the understanding of the problem, is the conclusion that Poland cannot afford to buy ETS emissions, (above the national ceiling it has to be done on the European market) Poland also cannot count on financial assistance of banks, because they currently support only low-emission projects (CO² limit emission below 550g/kWh). The current coal power plants have emissivity of 950-850 g/kWh and even using the latest conventional technologies limit of their emission cannot fall below the 700 g/kWh. Despite many voices emerging in the Polish discourse on coal (even clean technologies such as sequestration and coal gasification) are not able to save the sector – it is still too expensive (financial factor) or it is not verified in practice (technical factor). Morover, what is important in the context of media, in many cases even their implementation would not exceed the limit of the EBI 550.

According to the experts, Polish government will eventually have to make a radical shift towards a  gas. Otherwise Poland would not meet the provisions of European climate policy until 2030. Recently there were some rumours in Polish media about a gas pipeline “Baltic Pipe” and the second LNG gas terminal – according to experts such rumors could be a sign of “gas pivot” in Polish energy policy. The development of nuclear energy is also important but Poland will not be able to create nuclear power plants in at least 15 years. What seems to be certain is the development of renewable energy, which becomes to be a cheaper source of electricity.The current status of the mining industry in Poland is an effect of political mistakes – experts agreed – and it should be a lesson for policy-makers in the future.

On the 25th of February 2016 the Pulaski Foundation hosted the expert meeting on energy security. It was an opening of the series of meetings on the energy sector . The event was attended by experts of the Foundation, representatives of think tanks and the industry.