The dusk of coal – this term used in mining and generational understanding means that Polish power engineering will soon need tens of new gigawatts of power which will replace coal-fired power units that will be shut down. Energy Policy of Poland 2040 (PEP2040) will be responsible for the transformation plan of the Polish power engineering sector. According to this document, still non-approved, Polish electrical power engineering will be based mostly on renewable energy sources and nuclear energy.


In the next 20 years, according to PEP2040, the biggest power growth of installed capacity will happen in the photovoltaic sector. Until the year of 2040 there would be about 10-16 GW of power in this technology (currently it reaches about 3GW). It is worth noting that the goals of solar power plant expansion, planned by the Policy scheduled for 2030 (5-7 GW), might be reached quite sooner than expected. All this because of the government’s plan “Mój Prąd” (in English: “My Electricity”), which caused the huge ‘boom’ for photovoltaic power by the Vistula river.

The “My Electricity” programme offers grants of up to 5 thousand PLN for a domestic photovoltaic micro-system construction (of an output power ranging from 2 to 10 kW), and it worked as investment leverage. Having the budget of 1 billion PLN allowed for a projects’ realization, whose overall cost was, as per preliminary estimates, about 6-7 times greater. Within the original measures the Programme is designed to create about 200 thousand installations.

Thanks to this funding, in 2020 photovoltaic output power was growing at a monthly rate of about 5-7%, where the yearly rate reached 150-160%.

Wind energy

Until 2040, the Energy Policy of Poland 2040 predicts the wind energy development will mostly occur offshore. In the year 2030, power generated at the Baltic sea will reach 5.9 GW, and in 2040 – 8-11 GW.

The largest companies of the Polish energy sector are engaged in the construction of wind farms. The Polish Energy Group (PGE) has its own plans and intends to implement three wind farm projects of a total capacity up to 3.5 GW. Also, Orlen wants to build its own wind farm project that would grow to a 1.2 GW capacity. The first steps towards implementation of such plans were already taken by Equinor and Polenergia. They lead environmental studies under construction regarding one of three projects of a total capacity reaching 3 GW.

According to a strategy concerning the development of the offshore segment, the wind farms in the sea would bring investments in the northern part of Poland and fill the region with the electrical energy. The plans of windmill construction are connected with the concept of building a large-scale installation to produce so-called ‘green’ hydrogen, intended by Lotos.

On the other hand, the government of the united rightist party stopped wind energy investments on land. This segment of renewable energy sources has been developing quite dynamically during the years 2010-2015. During this period, the installed wind output power on land increased 5 fold, from about 1 GW to about 5 GW. The stopping power of these projects happened to be the Wind Energy Investment Act implemented in 2016, which implemented the 10H rule. It defined the minimal distance of newly built turbines from residential buildings. What also inflicted this situation is the system breakdown of so-called green certificates, which worked as a support system for the renewable sources of energy. It caused freezing of wind energy investments. Its created output power increased in 2016-2020 by merely an approximate 200 MW. Currently it is 6430 MW.

Government’s plans regarding the energy transformation states that in 2030 Polish inland wind energy would have an available output power of around 8-10 GW. Yet, reaching this amount would require relaxation or abolishing the 10H rule.


On Polish territory, there are many sources of biomass, which can be used to gather energy. Across all different contexts, the biggest resource of the state is solid biomass, which consists of wood waste from forests, post-consumer wood, and straw. It is worth noticing that until 2020, about 2.9 million hectares of territory in Poland can be used for energy crops cultivation. The agriculture sector is also an important source of biomass.

Despite this, Poland has a huge share of forests and agricultural land, which results in a biomass potential, where the bioenergy sector by the Vistula river is neglected and marginalized. In the whole country there are about 300 active biogas plants, from which 100 units are agricultural biogas plants. Meanwhile, in Germany, there are 9527, in Italy 1555, in the United Kingdom 613 of such units.

This can change depending on the actions of the Polish Oil and Gas Company, which plans to greatly develop the Polish biogas sector, especially the biomethane sector. In 2030, PGNiG (Polish Oil and Gas Company) aims to produce about 4 billion cubic meters of biomethane, whereas in 2050 the production is estimated to reach about 6-8 billion cubic meters. Achieving this goal would require construction of about 1500-2000 biomethane plants until 2030 and about 4000 plants until 2050. What’s more, PGNiG wants to send the biomethane via a gas pipeline network.

Biomass can be used in the process of torrefaction. It is a process of biomass undergoing a heat treatment in temperatures reaching from 200 to 300 degrees Celsius without the access to oxygen. Biochar’s heating value during the process can reach from 18 up to 23 MJ/kg. This means that biomass which underwent a heat treatment can be used as a substitute for coal.


Hydrogen technology is not expected to be mentioned in the Energy Policy of Poland 2040 until 2040. Development plans of gathering and using this resource is to be explained in a separate document: Hydrogen strategy, which is currently being prepared by the government.

Hydrogen as a resource may find different applications in industry, transportation, and energetics. Within the framework of the energy transformation policy, currently led by the European Union, hydrogen would serve as most of all specific energy storage, created at the moment of the work of foreseeable renewable energy sources (so-called ‘green hydrogen’). Then it would be stored and used in the moment when the RES would not supply enough energy. This resource can be also used in heating, and even metallurgy sectors.

To fully comprehend the idea of hydrogen’s role in the modern economy, firstly we should describe how it is gathered. About 95% of currently produced hydrogen is the so-called ‘grey hydrogen’, a resource created while using fossil fuels, e.g., natural gas. Its process of production is emissions-based, which is why it does not meet requirements stated by more and more radical climate policies of countries or international organizations. One of the solutions of the ‘grey hydrogen’ production process is a technology of CO2 uptake and storage, which is the main waste product of this reaction. Using such measures, we can produce the so-called ‘blue hydrogen’. There is also a possibility of creating “purple hydrogen”, gathered thanks to the energy from nuclear plants. Now, the biggest hope still lies in ‘green hydrogen’, i.e., produced in the process of water electrolysis, thanks to the energy gathered from renewable energy sources. This exact process allows for the use of RES energy’s capacity excess that cannot be received by the consumers, appearing while the electricity originates from an unstable RES (i.e., photovoltaic or windmills plants).

Hydrogen created in such a way can be used in the oil industry (for gasoline production), fuel cells (as an alternative for battery electromobility), energetics (as a gas fuel), atomic physics (during a process of controlled nuclear fusion) or metallurgy (for iron ore reduction). Most hopes are associated with the use of hydrogen in energetics and transportation. This segment’s development driver is the Hydrogen Strategy, published by the European Union in 2020. It states, e.g. that green hydrogen investments on the level of 180-470 billion EUR up to the year 2050, and establishment of an alliance towards pure hydrogen and the construction of up to 6 GW electrolysers until 2024, which would produce about a million tonnes of this resource. Particular Member States shall draw up their own hydrogen strategies.

Poland has a great potential in hydrogen production. It is the third largest hydrogen producer in the European Union and fifth largest producer in the world. The Azoty group, PKN Orlen, Lotos group and Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa are mostly responsible for its production.

The advanced hydrogen project is now being developed by Lotos. The company’s goal is a construction of large-scale installations for ‘green-hydrogen’ production with the help of electrolysers regarding the offshore wind turbines’ work in the Baltic sea. Until 2040, Lotos wishes to possess 4GW electrolysers, 1GW of energy generation and cavern warehouses for the storage of hydrogen. While Orlen, on the other hand, is currently constructing a hydrogen hub in Trzebinia.


Polish natural gas consumption amounts to about 18 billion cubic meters yearly. About 8-9 billion cubic meters (~55% of total demand) is obtained for Gazprom, the rest is gathered by our own extraction (~4 billion cubic meters annually) and deliveries to the LNG Terminal in Świnoujście.

In the reality of European energetics transformation, natural gas should be functioning as a transition fuel, a particular ‘bridge’ between high- and zero emission energy. Although it is hard to calculate how long the ‘bridge’ period will last. In consequence, securing a stable and big enough blue energy supply by relevant price, is portrayed as an economy’s strategic necessity. In Polish conditions, the meaning of this fuel is strengthened by a huge part of the industry based on gas usage (most of all units of Azoty group), and the gasification plan of Poland, implemented by the Polish Gas Company. It is worth noting the gradual increase of gas use in transportation (e.g., bus transportation), commercial power (in steam-gas blocks), and heating, including domestic heating installations (within programmes of air pollution response).

The Polish economy’s natural gas segment is highly influenced by a stigma of challenging relations with its main supplier – the Russian Federation. Using the state company Gazprom, Russia more than once showed the political use of natural resources (e.g., natural gas). Additionally, when it comes to blue fuel trading, Russians have been bending the market rules of the European Union. The monopoly proceedings started in 2012 by the European Commission against Gazprom and Gazprom defeat before Stockholm's arbitral tribunal against PGNiG, only proves the theory.

The deep addiction of deliveries from an uncertain supplier caused an increase in diversification trends in Poland. Its result is, most of all, an operating LNG Terminal in Świnoujście with a throughput of 5 billion cubic meters, thanks to which the natural gas comes from the USA, Qatar and Norway to Poland.

Soon, Poland is about to gain new delivery tunnels of gas. In 2022 the Baltic Pipe system is to be put into operation, which reaches the capacity of 10 billion cubic meters, going from Denmark to blue fuel deposits at the Norwegian continental shelf. There are also plans to construct a floating unit of LNG that would berth at the Bay of Gdańsk, whose capacity would reach about 2-3 billion cubic meters. The LNG Terminal in Świnoujście is at the stage of expansion. When finished its regasification capacity will be improved up to 7.5 billion cubic meters yearly, still having an option of further expansion of up to 10 billion cubic meters per year.

The expansion of infrastructure receiving the liquified gas is required for operating a huge policies portfolio, when in 2024 the 12.5 billion cubic meters of LNG yearly should reach Poland. Thanks to all these processes, Poland is about to resign from natural gas delivery from the Russian Federation.

The Polish government is lobbying to connect the regional gas markets. The Three Seas Initiative would help to reach this goal, as its agenda portrays an integration consisting of transmission systems of central Europen countries in the North-South corridor. The corridor has access to non-Russian natural gas owing mostly to Polish and Croatian infrastructure.

A different possibility to gain an additional source of gas production is obtaining methane from the coal supply. PGNiG is broadly working on using this material. The company’s group is conducting actions towards searching and production of gas on Poland’s territory and increasing the Polish biogas business potential.

Perspectives of nuclear energy development in Poland

The Energy Policy of Poland 2040, forecasts that in the year 2033, the first block of Polish nuclear plants will be launched, reaching a power capacity of 1-1.6 GW. There are plans to create up to 6 blocks that would jointly reach a cumulative capacity of 6-9 GW.

Current economy and political conditions indicate that the Polish partner of nuclear power development will be the United States of America. Polish - American discussions regarding atomic energy have been taking place for about 2 years now. During this period, many agreements have been completed, which especially emphasize the USA meaning among other potential partners of the nuclear plant construction in Poland. In June of 2018, the Polish Ministry of Energy began discussions with the US Department of Energy about cooperation regarding nuclear energy. In November 2018, then minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry signed the declaration consisting of specifying nuclear energy as a close field of Polish-US cooperation in the field of safety.

On the other hand, in June 2020, during the meeting of Polish and US Presidents in Washington D.C., President Andrzej Duda stated that the signing of a Polish-US agreement on intergovernmental cooperation regarding the nuclear project will be signed. The document was signed 4 months later, during the Summit of The Three Seas in Tallinn. The agreement  implies that during the next 18 months the USA and Poland will work on a report concerning the implementation plan of the Polish nuclear programme and financial arrangements. Most likely, the technological offer of the US could be the AP1000 reactor.

It is worth noticing that the USA might significantly realise the perspective of nuclear plant construction in Poland, using their financial mechanisms. In 2020, Romania benefited from the US's support, planning the expansion of the Cernavodă nuclear plant. The financing of such a project would be covered by Exim Bank (Export-Import Bank of the United States), a federal government institution of the USA. Its field considers credit offering on an international market.

According to The Polish Nuclear Energy Program adopted in October of 2020 by the Council of Ministers, the next steps on the way to nuclear plant construction in Poland would be: choosing technology (in 2021) and choosing the location (in 2022). The construction itself should start in the year 2026.

Energy storage

Energetic transformation consisting of expansion of uncontrolled RES park (e.g., solar energy or wind energy) require particular stabilization of their work with additional generation capacity of a particular flexibility or energy storage. So far, there is no sufficient storage technology which would allow to implement a transformation plan in a direction of 100% of RES on every latitude. That is why energy storage acts as a rather short-lasting stabilization tool.

Energy can be stored by the use of a couple of technologies: lithium-ion batteries and chemical, mechanical, thermal, and compressed air technologies. Also, hydrogen production is another particular method of energy storage as storing energy in electric car batteries. What is more, the electricity grid can work as a virtual storage for micro installations accounting.

Mostly, in Polish conditions, the battery or chemical, mechanical storage is used. The biggest battery storage in Poland has a capacity of about 27 MWh, where mechanical storages can reach capacity of even hundreds of MWh.

Although energy storage is not as popular in Poland as in Germany, it still gets more and more of society’s attention. It is connected with pro-consumer technology popularization, especially photovoltaic. A number of companies providing services such as solar energy, offer a possibility of installing a domestic system of energy storage of a 10 kWh capacity. The growing popularity of such solutions made the government to extend the My Energy programme to grants  also for energy storage. The possibility of additional payment regarding this project is planned for 2021.

Author: Jakub Wiech, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Energetyka24