This autumn we hear more and more about the energy crisis and how it will affect European countries, including Poland. Future of electricity in Poland seems clouded. The reason for the problems is due to limited access to solid fossil fuels, such as coal or gas. Fuels that were previously supplied by Russia. That is why you hear more often about blackouts or planned savings on lighting in public areas. This begs the question, how does the future of energy in Poland look like? And what alternatives are available today?
- Blackout in Poland?
- The government will freeze the price of electricity
- When will electricity prices be frozen?
- The first nuclear power plants in Poland
- Alternatives for now?
Blackout in Poland?
Let’s start with the definition itself. A Blackout is an extensive power failure, i.e. lack of electricity for a long time in a large area of the country. Is Poland threatened with blackouts? European countries such as Austria, Germany and Spain have been warning their citizens about power outages in 2022 for a long time. In mid-February 2022, due to storms, up to 1.2 million customers in Poland remained without electricity at the same time. Violent weather events, power grid failures and too much demand for energy can increasingly cause power outages.
However, we are currently dealing with a really worrying phenomenon. The sudden shutdown of 21 units of the largest power plants in Poland did not mean anything good. I mean the situation at the end of July 2022. Especially since the problems with coal are getting larger. I must add that in Poland coal-fired thermal power plants still produce the largest share of electricity production. In this case, are we in danger of a blackout? Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne ensures that the situation is under control and Poland is not threatened by any blackouts.
Does this claim, calm me down?
Almost yes. However, in my subjective opinion, when making a probability calculation, I prefer to be prepared for a few hours of a power outage. The chance of a few days blackout are rather low. But in case of a power failure for several hours, I have prepared a rechargeable lamp with a large battery, an UPS for the most critical household appliances and a powerbank for charging phones. It is worth mentioning that the ongoing Black Friday, Black Weeks and the upcoming Cyber Monday are a good opportunity to buy this type of gadgets. In this article (click) I have written a little more about Black Friday in Poland and ways to verify whether a bargain during Black Friday is really a bargain.
The government will freeze the price of electricity
As usual in such situations, insufficient supply for exorbitant demand is a problem, with sharp increase in prices, which has accelerated even more than I predicted in my article from March 2021 (click). However, at the moment, the government has declared a freeze on electricity prices for 2023. How does is this suppose to work?
The maximal energy price for households applies after exceeding the annual limits of energy consumption, which the government introduced in the Act on special solutions for the protection of electricity consumers in 2023, due to the situation on the electricity market. These limits shall be:
- 2000 kWh for households,
- 2600 kWh, if one of the household members is a disabled person,
- 3000 kWh if you are a farmer or have a Large Family Card.
You do not need to make a declaration to have a threshold of 2000 kWh. Only households that want to benefit in 2023 from frozen electricity prices within the increased limits of 2.6 kWh or 3 kWh must submit statements to their electricity provider with attachments by June 30, 2023. For example, you can find a model declaration directly on the Tauron website (click).
Are you wondering how to calculate your annual electricity consumption? Check your electricity invoices from the last year and sum up the values of the kWh consumed. Otherwise, you can also use the Tauron calculator, which is available on the page from the link above. Of course, you will only get an estimate, but in my case it was very close to the real consumption. The calculator is in Polish but you can easily use it with the translation option available in the browser.
When is the introduction of freezing electricity prices for companies and households?
The maximum price of electricity will be applied by sellers in two cases:
- For public utility entities, small and medium-sized enterprises from 1st December 2022 to 31st December 2023. Of course, provided that you made a statement. How bureaucratic, right? The price will apply to the consumption of no more than 90% of the average energy consumption.
- For households from the moment the limit of 2000, 2600 or 3000 kWh for households is exceeded, until 31 December 2023.
So, is this all? What else will Poland do, to stabilize common national energy security?
The first nuclear power plants in Poland – electricity in Poland
As I have already mentioned, at this moment most power plants in Poland generate electricity from coal. However, I would like to quote our Prime Minister:
We plan to build six reactors in three locations in Poland. We are also thinking about more, because nuclear energy is the best complement to renewable energy sources.Prime Minister: Mateusz Morawiecki
These words seem to be supported by deeds. At the moment, two contractors have already been selected. American Westinghouse will build a power plant close to the seacoast in Pomorze district. To be more specific, in the Choczewo municipality. On the other hand, in cooperation with Polish PGE and ZE PAK, Korean KHNP plans to sign a contract for the construction of a second power plant in Pątno, Konin district. At the time of writing this article, the location and contractor of the third power plant are not yet known.
The nuclear power plants themselves raise a lot of concerns among Poles. There are concerns of repetitions like Chernobyl or Fukushima. Let me remind you that only in the European Union, in 2019, 106 reactors were in operation, including in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany and France. And it is France that leads the way in this type of technology on the European market. Considering the fact that nuclear energy is one of the cleanest, cheapest and most efficient in the world, I am personally positive about the development of this project. According to the Prime Minister’s announcements, we can expect the first power plants are to be commissioned in 2033. But is there any alternative to the energy source for now?
Alternatives and for now?
In August 2022, the total installed capacity of all devices generating electricity in Poland was recorded at the level of 59.02 GW (Giga Watt). Renewable Energy Sources (RES) have 20.8 GW, which almost 35.5% of all energy generated in Poland. Out of this, 10.6 GW is energy from Photovoltaics. Energy from wind turbines equals 7.5 GW. Unfortunately, solar and wind energy are dependent on the vagaries of the weather, but at the moment they are the best alternative for those of us who live in houses or who will be allowed to install Photovoltaic on the block in which they live.
Personally, I think that photovoltaics may be the best opportunity for us to alternatively supply ourselves with a source of cheap energy – of course, considering the previous investment resulting from installing the system in your household. Let me know in the comments at the bottom of this article or by email if you would like me to prepare a separate article for you about the costs of setting up such a photovoltaic installation and the possible time of return on such investment. In the next article, I will present to you information about the current situation in Poland, regarding heating sources and what is the upcoming future of it.
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Special thanks to Eamon Gosney, who has helped with proofreading of this article.