POLAND 2050 - AT THE CARBON CROSSROADS

2012-10-01

Most of today's forecasts state that in the coming years, next to gas utilization, renewable technologies supporting the growth of energy efficiency will dominate the development of the energy sector in the world – as written in "Poland 2050 - the carbon crossroads," by Zbigniew Karaczun.

In the author's opinion, many years of investment-related negligence has resulted in the Polish energy sector not delivering a sufficient level of energy security and quality of service. "It is also not prepared to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, including reducing the impact on the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Its modernization is necessary if Poland wants to maintain a high rate of growth", writes Z. Karaczun.

The author shows that the problems that Poland is currently facing have also been experienced by other countries. His examples of the UK and Denmark indicate that change was induces by the need for increased energy security: promoting energy efficiency and development of renewable energy sources, based on the use of local renewable resources. According to Z. Karaczun, both countries are also an example of how conventional sources can be used as transitional technology, facilitating the building of a new energy model.

The author also addresses the issue of various pressure groups associated with the process of modernization in the sector. According to him, the changes in the UK give certain important lessons. Firstly, succumbing to pressure groups delays structural changes in the economy and may lead to a crisis. Secondly, companies prefer stable frameworks for business rather than lowering standards and requirements. Denmark’s example shows how important it is to build a political consensus on the most important economic challenges. The transparency of political agreements concluded between the government and the opposition created a stable environment for long term investment decisions by entrepreneurs.

According to Z. Karaczun, there would be no transition in those countries if they had not anticipated changes occurring in the global energy market. They recognized that the time of cheap, conventional energy sources was over and the world was entering an era of fierce competition for diminishing resources. So they decided to change their energy mix in order to adapt to the new global economic environment.

"Our country is also facing the prospect of depletion of energy resources and imports from one direction only. From this point of view, the need to modernize the energy sector should be seen not only as an important issue but also as an opportunity. A chance to create a knowledge-based society, for the introduction of innovative technologies and advanced energy management systems.", writes Z. Karaczun.