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IEA Urges Poland To Clean Up Energy Sector

Poland’s new energy strategy must aim to reduce the share of coal and carbon-intensive power-plants, while strengthening energy security, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday in its latest review of Poland’s energy policies.

This new strategy, however, will need a lot of investments in order to cut coal’s share and boost the share of low-carbon energy, including renewables and nuclear energy, IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol said.

But Birol noted that “the future of renewable energy in Poland looks uncertain”. At the same time the IEA chief welcomed Poland’s choice to pursue nuclear energy development to cut emissions and boost energy security, but warned that the country should be careful when picking partners and technology in this venture.

Poland’s upcoming energy strategy is expected to place long-term energy security in focus, with strong efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, and at the same time boost energy efficiency and de-carbonize the transport system, IEA said.

According to Poland’s government, coal would remain “the cornerstone” of Poland’s energy for the long term. Since the mining industry is a major employer in the country, policies affecting this sector have a huge social and economic impact. However, Poland’s new energy strategy must determine what would be the long-term role of coal in the country’s economy, Birol noted.

Coal is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in Poland because many coal-fired plants are outdated and inefficient, and less well-off households use coal in household heating. Birol urged the Polish government to ensure those households have the means to switch to cleaner solutions, such as natural gas or district heating, where possible and available.

While coal use is steadily declining in the U.S. and Western Europe, Poland is using so much of it that it generates 90 percent of its electricity from coal.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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