The Polish Energy Market is Moving Faster than the Government: Turning Green

From the Polish Institute for Renewable Energy:

Poland stresses the importance of the coal sector and at the same time fighting for "the rehabilitation of coal" in Europe and improve the operation of coal mining in Silesia. The role of coal in the economy is not so big. Revenues from the sale of coal in the national GDP is less than 1.4%, while that for the renewable energy market in 2013 exceeded 1.3% of GDP. Gramwzielone

Every year this trend will get stronger and it is occurring despite the Polish Government, not because of it. The underlying factors strongly favor the continuation of the increasingly role of green energy and the declining role of coal. Beyond the problems of Polish coal  (which are themselves impossible to underestimate), it is quicker to build green energy production than any conventional plant (except natural gas, which is largely moot now). The premium for green energy is less each year as the "cross over" point nears on many RES technologies. Finally a new emerging shift in mentality is occurring, more and more Polish individuals and companies operating in Poland are thinking about RES in a favorable light. This is despite a drumbeat of criticism from the ruling party (finding itself out of step and out of tune on this issue as it is on many others). 

Coal remains a labor intensive sector with huge political connections (beyond the unions is the large number of state-appointed "executives" that get big salaries in black energy companies owned by the government). Of course, the more the state is involving in ownership of enterprises, the more chances there are for kick-backs and corruption as well. Besides coal production, there is the huge number of jobs and GDP contribution of Polish coal-fired power plants. Yet this elaborate house of cards is coming apart from the bottom up. The political party allegedly pro-free market is finding that the free market has a mind of its own and does not play favorites. 

As Pogo famously say in the American cartoon strip, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Traditional Polish politicians seem destined to learn this the hard way. 


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