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Poland keen on capacity market

The Polish government wants to introduce a capacity market so as to avoid power shortages.

The growth of renewables and a recent interconnection bringing hydropower from the Nordics via Lithuania has challenged the country’s staple reliance on coal. The use of coal as a fuel dropped 4.7 per cent for electricity generation between 2008 and 2013.

The country’s energy minister says they need the capacity market to help coal-fired power plants compete withà‚ producers of renewable energy and to avoid such shortages.

“We have to call on the European Commission for a system ofà‚ financing conventional generation. If we do not build around 7à‚ GW of new capacities in six years, then we will haveà‚ toࢀ¦regulate electricity consumption,” Krzysztof Tchàƒ³rzewski said.

State-runà‚ power groups PGE, Tauron and Enea,à‚ which are coming under pressure from subsidised renewables suchà‚ as wind power, reducing investment in new capacity.

Cheaper electricityà‚ imports, including from the hydropower-dependent Nordic regionà‚ via links to Sweden and Lithuania, are pushing coal-powerà‚ plants out of the system.

The government is mulling other directions to enhance energy security, with Mike Kirst, an official at Westinghouse, telling EurActiv Polish authorities have spoken of potentially building up to 11 nuclear reactors by 2030.

For now the government remains unconvinced on the ability of renewables.

à‚ “There is no energy safety or stability of supplies withoutà‚ conventional power generation. We can improve on emissions, butà‚ conventional generation will always have to be there,” Tchorzewski said.

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