HomeEuropeQ&A: Polish Deputy PM Jacek Sasin on energy sovereignty

Q&A: Polish Deputy PM Jacek Sasin on energy sovereignty

Q: Deputy Prime Minister, you are the person responsible for Poland’s energy state assets. What are your top priorities for the Polish energy sector in 20 and 30 years’ time?

Jacek Sasin, Polish Deputy PM | via ZPP

A: “Both Poland and Europe are currently facing one of the biggest energy crises in history. Caused by the Russian Federation’s criminal policy toward Ukraine. Rising commodity prices, fuel shortages in European markets or spreading disinformation targeting European societies are all the result of an unpredictable, neo-imperialist policies of Putin and his closest entourage. Therefore, as the person in charge of overseeing Polish assets, including mining and energy companies, it is my absolute priority to ensure energy security for Poland and the Polish nation. In a nutshell, this means ensuring stable, uninterrupted, and reasonably-priced fuel and electricity supplies. Polish citizens and companies operating in Poland should not suffer from brutal actions and delusional ambitions of Russian leaders. Real energy security must be based on energy sovereignty.

“It is my absolute priority to ensure energy security for Poland and the Polish nation”

Jacek Sasin, Polish Deputy PM

“At the very beginning of the rule of the United Right in Poland, we set ourselves the goal of such sovereignty. We did not want to end up like Germany, for example, which has become Russia’s hydrocarbon fuels hostage. Today I am pleased to say that Poland is safe. Effective efforts have been undertaken to supply coal or gas from reliable, non-Russian sources, providing Poles with the prospect of a warm autumn and winter, as well as energy security based on energy sovereignty in the long-term. That is our top priority, both here and now, and in the years to come — a priority shared by energy companies that I oversee being the Minister of Assets.”

Q: Expanding energy security and reducing energy dependence are two of the main European goals, as well as the pillars of the Polish energy policy by 2040. How in the years ahead will the Polish energy mix be changing?

A: “The foundation of Poland’s energy security is the stability of energy sources. Due to Poland’s specificity, this stability is based on coal, and for reasons aplenty — including historical ones — it is what our power system is based on. Undoubtedly, renewables will become one of the pillars of our power system and their role will grow year-on-year. However, owing to their instability, they cannot be the primary energy source. For this reason, we are looking into nuclear power, as we support the idea of green conservatism, that is, a responsible, fair energy transition,  oriented towards the common good of our citizens.

“We plan to successively commission modern gas units, replacing worn-out coal-fired facilities sourced from the Norwegian shelf”

Jacek Sasin, Polish Deputy PM

“We will focus on clean technologies, such as photovoltaics, hydropower, onshore and offshore wind farms. Nuclear power being the one to stabilize the entire system. We plan to successively commission modern gas units, replacing worn-out coal-fired facilities. Importantly, these units will use not Russian fuel, but sourced from the Norwegian shelf. Its supply will be ensured by the Baltic Pipe pipeline, built on the initiative of our government, to the LNG [liquified natural gas] terminal in Świnoujście. It enables us to import liquid gas from any global direction.

“We will also lobby for a fundamental revision of the existing climate and energy policies ensuring they are not detached from geopolitical reality. Poland bears significant costs related to the CO2 emissions trading system that is reflected in high energy production cost. We struggle to accept that model in times of war and energy crisis. It is time we changed this damaging model.”

Q: The share of nuclear energy in European power generation stands for one-quarter. What is the future of the atom in Poland, including small modular reactors (SMRs), from the perspective of the Polish energy mix in 2040?

Small modular reactors (SMRs) | via ZPP

A: “The recent months constitute a nuclear renaissance in Europe. According to experts, safe, zero-carbon energy is the hope for a better future in the energy industry. Personally, I am delighted. Not only because as a country we are interested in building large-scale units that will work at the base of our system. Also, because we have the support of the Polish people who are beginning to see ever more clearly the benefits of implementing nuclear power in the Polish energy mix. On these grounds, together with our foreign partners, we plan to build safe, modern high-power nuclear reactors. We are similarly open-minded and hopeful about SMRs. We see how, especially in these trying times, they become a reasonable bridge between the opportunities that nuclear power has to offer.”

Q: The Baltic Sea presents very promising potential for offshore wind development and eight countries in the region are planning to expand their investments from the current 2.8GW to 19.6GW of installed capacity by 2030. Polish companies are also at the forefront of this campaign, along with their foreign partners, and Poland plans 6GW of new offshore wind capacity by 2030. How important is this technology for Poland’s energy transition from your perspective?

A: “Its relevance is indisputably high. An energy system based on offshore wind assets is particularly important, because, as experts have pointed out time and again, the Baltic can play a critical role in efforts to achieve climate neutrality.

“I hope that in time, with appropriate technology, Poland will be able to take full advantage of the potential of its natural resources and enjoy the benefits of zero-carbon generation”

Jacek Sasin, Polish Deputy PM

“Moreover, this applies to both Poland and to Europe in the 2050 perspective. The development of this segment may contribute not only to an increase in the energy transformation dynamics of individual countries in the region, but also to a surge in their economic development, as it involves the transfer of modern technologies. I am glad that companies supervised by the Ministry of State Assets, PGE, Orlen and Enea to name a few, want to play their part in this process. “However, the development of renewable energy sources must go hand-in-hand with the construction of modern and efficient energy storage facilities. These sources are unfortunately, for obvious reasons, invariably dependent on weather conditions. Therefore, putting them at the base of power systems would be highly risky, and even irresponsible. Nevertheless, I hope that in time, with appropriate technology, Poland will be able to take full advantage of the potential of its natural resources — access to water reservoirs — and enjoy the benefits of zero-carbon generation. Even so, in terms of energy security today, we are looking primarily toward nuclear power.”



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