The Polish government has won more room to subsidise the transition away from coal-fired power to cleaner energy.

The EU is in talks with member states on the reformation of the bloc’s Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Warsaw has been calling for an increase in the amount of emission permits it can distribute for free to coal power plants under article 10c of the reformed ETS directive, which was originally created to help poorer EU countries in their transition away from fossil fuels.
Poland in European flag
Under a compromise proposal, obtained by EURACTIV, the number of permits that can be used to fund the clean energy transition will be raised from 40% to 60% of the auctioning volumes, meeting a key demand from Warsaw.

Environmentalists warn this will allow Poland to use billions of ETS money to fund the life-extension of coal power plants until 2030, without any environmental safeguards.

There is a big push among the larger member states to prohibit funding for power plants that emit more than 450g of CO2 per kilowatt hour, a move that would exclude coal from the funding mechanism. They were backed in this demand by the European Parliament.

Poland’s ongoing large-scale investment in three new coal-fired power plants may be the country’s last fossil fuel venture, its energy minister said on Wednesday (6 September), indicating a possible energy shift in the EU’s largest eastern member amid revived plans to embrace nuclear power.

Three-way talks between the EU Commission, Council and Parliament are expected to conclude on 12 October. They will be preceded by a meeting of the 28 EU member state ambassadors on 6 October.