Finally? A Signal that Maybe Reality Matters, Even in Poland
The Polish Minister of Energy has finally started talking about a compromise between renewable energy and coal. The driver is apparently the new public concerns over air pollution, which has got to the point where some days you cannot exercise outside in Poland.
There is finally some talk of a transition from predominantly coal supplied electricity. But the government still does not discuss in real terms the economic and technological changes occurring in the energy market. The cost of coal - not even considering the external costs - is getting to be more expensive than RES technologies as the latter are rapidly going down.
The additional cost trend in energy storage is also not fully appreciated in Poland.
Critical thinking requires that energy projects be considered over their projected useful life, not just at today's prices. Private investors think in this manner, but many governments do not. The Polish distrust of business runs deep in the culture despite the conversion from socialism. Energy is still widely considered to be best as a state-owned enterprise. This harnesses energy planning to the political process in ways not normally experienced in Western countries. The weak dialogue with business that occurs in Poland makes this an even greater gap.
Polish politicians are now picking up a theme of the need for innovation in their economy. But this is an abstract concept that quickly loses its vitality when stacked against vested interest in the status quo, especially the stated-owned status quo.
The newer generation of Polish politicians emerging now offers the hope that future decisions will start looking at reality, not assuming that serious compromises with reality are possible.