Poland is characterized by a high energy independence compared to other EU states. This is caused by our electroenergetics and energy industry being based mostly on coal. Poland’s energy dependence index – defined as the percentage of imported primary energy – is only 25.8 percent, which situates us among leading European countries. The EU average is as high as 53 percent (Eurostat figures for 2013).
Countries with the lowest energy dependency are Estonia (11.9 percent), Denmark (12.3 percent), Romania (18.6 percent) and Poland. Our country imports only 25.8 percent of the primary energy it consumes. This is a much lower rate than is the case in the biggest EU economies, such as Germany (62.7 percent), Spain (70 percent), France (47.9 percent) or Italy (76.9 percent).
Poland has a unique structure of energy consumption in the national fuel balance. The high share of solid fuels (bituminous and brown coal) from domestic sources guarantees us a certain degree of energy security. However, there can be no doubt that due to continuous transformations of the model, this cannot be maintained long-term. This is linked chiefly to the fact that easily accessible bituminous coal resources are running out and the increase in the cost of its mining. At the same time, Poland has one of the largest brown coal resources in the world which are fit to use. This opportunity will, however, most likely remain unused for environmental and the resources wil start running out in 20-25 years.
All this means that we are already a net coal importer. Along with the successive decline in domestic production and growing import of this raw material its impact on our energy security will dwindle. However, in the coming years coal will still be the fuel stabilizing the Polish energy mix and its main component. For this reason, among others, maximizing the use of fossil fuels available in the EU, coupled with introducing increasingly environment-friendly coal burning technologies, were one of the pillars of the proposal for the establishment of an energy union, presented by the Polish government.
Jacek Brzozowski, adviser to the President of Employers of Polanda