We will not do without electricity imports?

The consumption of natural gas in Poland will increase, and it will act as a stabilizer of the energy system for a long time, replacing coal. In turn, fuel consumption should be relatively stable over the next decade. On the other hand, PSE’s announcements about the need to import electricity to ensure the stability of the national energy system are worrying.

– We are in a period of dramatic changes and twists in politics. A year ago, representatives of the Ministry of Energy maintained that the fossil fuel sector was a pillar of energy security. Now we are seeing fossil fuels being withdrawn from the energy mix. We will have to find ourselves in this new situation – said the former president of PGNiG, and previously the minister of economy and chief geologist of the country, Piotr Woźniak during the conference “Energy Security – Pillars and Development Prospects” in Rzeszów.

In the coming years, the hard coal mining industry will be closed down. The same will happen in the future for the oil and gas sector. The key factor will be how quickly the next processes take place.

Woźniak recalled that five years ago the International Energy Agency announced that gas would be a transitional fuel, but signaled that this transition period would last a very long time. However, the changes are proceeding at a galloping pace. The European Union is pursuing its goal of carbon neutrality in 2050. The 2030 emission reduction targets reported in the EU are becoming more and more ambitious. As a result, the gas will also be ultimately censored.

All this requires countries such as Poland to make huge efforts to revitalize regions that were previously based on coal mining, but above all to switch the energy system to other fuels.

– As far as gas is concerned, I expect that it will remain in the same position in the energy mix in the coming years, or even increase its share – said Woźniak. – I am a huge supporter of gas. This fuel is more convenient than other fuels, and its combustion emissivity is remarkably lower than that of coal and oil, he added.

Sławomir Sieradzki from Gaz-System also emphasized that gas consumption in the country would grow. Since 2015, it has increased by 30%. – This trend will continue for several years. We can see it after talks with market participants – he informed. He emphasized that the role of gas will be key in stabilizing the energy system, in which renewable sources will have an increasing share, a bit more uncertain, because they are based on the sun or gas.

PERN, a company operating in the field of oil logistics, is also thinking about the future. – We are aware of the changes that are taking place. And they will not be sudden and jumps. In the event of abandoning coal, a schedule was given, and the same will be true for oil, said Igor Wasilewski, President of PERN. – Fuel consumption in Poland will remain stable for approximately 10 years, plus or minus 1-2 percent. – he assessed.

Wasilewski pointed out that the refining process produces not only fuels, but also lubricants, asphalts, waxes and petrochemical products. – The use of plastic will not decrease rapidly, we see the potential for oil in this 10 years – he said.

On the other hand, Piotr Woźniak expressed his concerns about the recently published statement of Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne, which states that in order to maintain the stability of the national energy system, PSE will have to import energy. They will need additional transmission capacities on interconnectors, i.e. cross-border connections, in the amount of 2,100 MW, i.e. over 2 GW. – This is as much as the installed capacity in industrial power plants serving industrial plants – alarmed the former head of PGNiG.

– After five years of implementing the energy policy, PSE, which regulate the market, decided that it would not be possible to maintain the stability of the system without foreign sources. I want to know what will happen when there is no electricity in Germany or the Czech Republic? It should be included in the energy policy – said Woźniak.

Prof. Leszek Jesień, director of the Department of International Cooperation of PSE, reassured that import is something natural in the case of interconnected energy systems. As Poland, we have connections with Slovakia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Lithuania. – Import is a commercial relationship linked to prices. If we have a high price – we import. If, on the other hand, we have a lower price than our neighbors, we export – he informed.

He revealed that in September there were problems with balancing the system, but they remained invisible to the market and its participants, because the company relied on emergency imports. Of course, he emphasized that it was necessary to build new generation sources that would guarantee cheap electricity production. In the future, nuclear energy could also be a solution. Autumn also counts on the development of energy storage systems that will enable the storage of excess electricity.

At the same time, he admitted that we have gotten used to thinking that imports will always be available, but it does not have to be that way, especially in critical situations. As he noted, the transformation unifies the energy systems of individual countries. As a result, certain phenomena may adversely affect the systems of many countries at the same time. This poses certain risks and challenges for the sector.

Monika Borkowska

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