Will COVID-19 pandemia improve Polish energy market?


For the last two weeks of March, while Poland was experiencing the difficulties created by Covid-19, electricity demand dropped by as much as 8.5 percent. This drop has effectively increased the share of renewable energy sources within the national energy mix. How will the crisis provoked by the new virus affect Poland’s energy and climate policy? Will changes in the energy market make it possible to meet the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets on the home straight? Let’s have look behind the scenes.

The world has been plunged into chaos, and the main priority now is unquestionably to stop the spread of the virus. However, much of the action it requires is like a 100-metre sprint, while climate protection is a marathon. Both disciplines need to be run at the same time.

Some of the arguably positive impact of the coronavirus on the energy market is more a matter of chance, rather than a result of a consistently applied climate policy. While we cannot yet say how the current crisis will affect the Polish economy in the long run, some mechanisms such as the slowing growth in domestic GDP (Bank Pekao estimates that it may fall by as much as 4.4% in 2020) are already being felt on the energy market. The demand for electricity is falling, and so too, therefore, are prices. The share of renewable energy sources in domestic energy production is rising, which is also temporarily reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the EU’s 2020 climate goals for Poland is to increase the share of renewable energy sources in total consumption to 15 percent, with total consumption including the electricity, heating and transport sectors. The changes that the virus has brought to Poland’s electricity system may help reduce emissions; however, are these mechanisms sufficient to meet the EU’s climate targets for 2020? At present, it is hard to say for certain…

The original story was recorded in a live broadcast here on EnergyTransition.org on 27th of April 2020.