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High prices for coal power, dirty air spark growing support for renewable energy in Poland

first_imgHigh prices for coal power, dirty air spark growing support for renewable energy in Poland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:As he stood outside a coal mine during a campaign stop last month, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki surprisingly touted the project’s green credentials. “Without investments like this one, we wouldn’t have renewable energy and other industries that we are betting on,” Morawiecki told a crowd of miners in Silesia, the country’s coal heartland.The mention of renewable energy at all, in the weeks leading up to an election on Sunday, marks a change of tone in the country, which gets most of its power from coal and has previously stifled renewable investments. With wind and solar costs plummeting and an increasing public backlash against some of the dirtiest air in the region, the government is changing its rhetoric on energy and looking to the European Union to help finance the transition.Morawiecki’s Law & Justice party came to power in 2015 thanks in part to support from miners. In its first year, the government nearly halted the fast-developing onshore wind industry with restrictive laws. At the same time, it revived a 1 gigawatt coal-fired power plant project in Ostroleka — whose backers now struggle to find financing.A tripling in the price of emission permits last year also hit Polish coal hard, with wholesale power prices currently about 25% above levels in neighboring Germany. The government stymied the impact to consumers by freezing household electricity rates and limiting the increase for businesses.Then last year, the government held an auction for new onshore wind projects. Developers, including state-owned utility PGE SA and international players EDP Renovaveis SA and Innogy SE bid to sell power at prices that were far below what the market had expected. “That was a big turning point,” said Bart Dujczynski, founder of Proventus Renewables Ltd., which advises on renewable energy projects in Poland. “It made opposition to renewables quite difficult to justify because economically, it was very attractively priced.”Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski, a major proponent of coal power, has championed a 1 billion-zloty ($255 million) solar subsidy program. Additionally, the government plans to auction a record 3.4 gigawatts of renewable energy this year. The country’s photovoltaic capacity passed the 1 gigawatt mark on Oct. 1, up 158% from a year earlier, as households and enterprises sped up installations of solar panels.More: Poland’s backing wind power in the heart of coal countrylast_img read more