Economics to Drive Coal Decline, Renewables Growth in Poland

Coal-fired generation to get squeezed from the country’s power system by 2032 thanks to lower-cost renewables and carbon costs: BloombergNEF

London, February 6, 2023 – Coal burn in Poland’s power system is poised to drop to negligible levels by 2032 thanks to the fuel’s deteriorating economics and the effects of Europe’s carbon-emissions trading scheme, according to a new BloombergNEF report. The Poland Power Transition Outlook 2023 also highlights the prominent role renewables are poised to play in the country’s power mix over the next decade.

Poland is one of Europe’s most polluting and coal-heavy electricity markets, and the current energy crisis has driven a returned reliance on the fuel, but the new report suggests this resurgence will be short-lived. The report explores multiple future scenarios and finds that even in a world where natural gas prices remain persistently high, coal generation falls rapidly, with growing electricity demand met by output from cheaper renewables and grid-scale batteries.

Poland’s successful clean energy transition is essential to meeting Europe’s climate goals. BNEF’s analysis finds that coal’s decline in Poland will be driven by rising carbon prices, favorable economics for renewable energy generation and gas-fired power plants, and the country’s unprofitable and aging coal fleet. Economics will drive an almost complete coal phase-out in Poland before 2038, with only one unit remaining online in 2040 as a backup to meet winter peak demand. BNEF’s “restricted renewables scenario” also projects Poland to have 3GW of nuclear power online by 2040. With one coal unit remaining, coal-fired power would meet less than 1% of annual power demand in 2040 in this scenario (Fig.1).

“Gas becomes cheaper than coal in just five years, even if carbon prices track below expectations and gas prices track above them,” said Felicia Aminoff, energy transition analyst at BNEF and lead author of the report. “Supportive policies for onshore wind and solar could lessen Poland’s reliance on natural gas by 2030. Delayed investment in zero-carbon energy sources will result in higher overall system costs in the long term as Poland advances its transition.”

BNEF analysis highlights the enormous economic and investment opportunities Poland will reap …


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