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Poland to Sink $16 Billion In Energy Grid to Handle Renewables

Poland is set to spend $16 billion on upgrading and expanding its power grid to accommodate additional renewable and nuclear capacity, the country’s power grid operator said on Friday.

Grid operator PSE said that its draft investment plan includes more than 3,000 miles of 400 kV transmission lines in a push to hasten the transition of the country’s energy sources from coal to cleaner energy.

In its current state, Poland’s grid is capable of accommodating the country’s energy usage through coal-fired power—the country’s main source of energy generation, serving more than 70% of its electricity. But the global push to transition away from fossil fuels to solar, wind, and other cleaner forms of energy generation has prompted Poland to jump on the green bandwagon—only its grid isn’t set up to handle that.

PSE said that the grid updates will help it to convert to wind and solar generated by 37 GW of wind farms, 45 GW of solar farms, and new nuclear power.

In January, Poland’s new government said it would set an end date for using coal-fired power generation. The move to put a drop dead date for phasing out coal use for power generation was in stark contrast to the previous government, which had secured deals with its trade unions to keep coal mining alive until at least 2049—just one year before Poland is supposed to be carbon neutral. As of 2022, Poland was the world’s ninth-largest producer of coal in the world, and the second-largest coal producer in Europe. But Poland uses so much coal that it also imports a fair amount of coal—from Russia. Then sanctions came, followed by a sharp U-turn towards renewables.

Last year, renewables in Poland generated a record 26% of the country’s electricity, German research organization Fraunhofer Society said.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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