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Polish energy giants lobby Brussels over coal, biomass

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 13.10.2017 13:50
Executives from Poland’s three largest energy companies have lobbied decision makers in Brussels over a proposed package of EU power market reforms that they fear would hit their coal-dependent country.
Photo: IgorShubin/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative CommonsPhoto: IgorShubin/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative Commons

Tauron Polska Energia, the Polish Energy Group (PGE) and Enea Trading have joined forces in the lobbying effort, as part of which executives met members of the European Parliament and European Commission officials in Brussels.

Tauron CEO Filip Grzegorczyk, PGE’s Maciej Burny -- who is also secretary of the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE) -- and Enea Trading CEO Dawid Klimczak traveled to Brussels to talk about new EU energy market plans that they believe are unfriendly to coal.

The Commission has proposed carbon dioxide emission limits for power producers benefitting from state aid, among other measures.

'Ideological war over climate'

Tauron’s Grzegorczyk criticised the Commission's proposal, saying that every country should be allowed to use the kind of resources it owns, and in the case of Poland, it is coal, he said.

Grzegorczyk said: “This is absolutely not a good or fair proposal. We believe it is not a case of business regulation, but rather a kind of ideological war over climate."

He added that restrictive EU environmental policies imposed new obligations on European companies that required substantial investment.

Grzegorczyk also said that the rate at which the power sector was being transformed must ensure energy security and access to energy at acceptable prices.

PGE’s Burny claimed that the Commission's plans would lead to the elimination of coal-fired power plants, which he said in Poland accounted for almost 90 percent of total capacity.

Burny argued that “Poland is in a specific situation in connection with the historical role of coal in its energy mix” and that it was consequently necessary to avoid “absurd solutions that would seriously undermine the security of supplies in Poland and de facto increase the costs of energy for consumers.”

Push for biomass

Enea’s Klimczak targeted some Commission proposals related to the so-called Winter Package of power market reforms when it came to biomass. He argued that selected provisions should be removed from the package because they were unfavorable to Poland’s economy.

"Today biomass is responsible for at least several thousand jobs across the country, and it is obtained in an environmentally friendly way,” Klimczak said, adding that biomass supports jobs in the EU, helps agriculture and helps the whole economy and the environment.

The EU executive arm unveiled its proposed Winter Package last autumn. Since then, negotiations have been ongoing among EU member states and in the European Parliament. (gs/pk)

tags: Brussels, energy
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