Poland, long a global top 10 supporter of coal-fired power, plans to shift aggressively toward zero-carbon energy resources over the next two decades.
One of those alternative fuels is nuclear capacity, a sector in which Poland has struggled to complete projects. Polish Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka announced this month that the nation wants to build out as much as 10 GW of nuclear capacity through 2040.
Overall, he added, Poland hopes to get 40 percent of its energy from zero-carbon resources.
Poland also plans to accelerate development of solar, distributed energy and offshore wind energy. A 2016 report by McKinsey estimated that adoption of offshore wind by Poland—which has the Baltic sea on its northern border—could add 77,000 new jobs and 60 billion in Polish zloty ($16B U.S.) to the nation’s gross domestic product.
Kurtyka emphasized the economic development benefits for Poland. In fact, it’s already happening, he added.
“This is an opportunity for the development of the domestic industry, development of specialized personnel competences, new jobs and generating added value for the national economy,” the Polish climate minister said. “Recently, the driving force for the development of renewable energy in Poland has become photovoltaics, which is the fastest growing sector of renewable energy in Poland, which is related to the progressive decline in costs and the support system.”
The first nuclear unit, supplying between 1 and 1.6 GW of capacity, could be commissioned by 2033. Over the next seven years some 9 GW could be added, according to the report.
As of 2018, Poland gained nearly 80 percent of its power generation capacity from coal-fired resources (pictured at top). The European nation also is trying to avoid reliance on natural gas from nearby Russia.
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