Poland makes Paris ratification conditional on new coal plant development
By Paul Homewood
The Polish government says it will not ratify the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change unless it receives financial guarantees from Brussels for the construction of new coal-fired power generation capacity.
BNE IntelliNews website reports that the Polish government continues to maintain that its energy security is at risk if its coal power capacity is threatened. Poland’s energy mix relies more than 80 per cent on coal.
The first agreement in question is the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which binds the EU to limit emissions by 20 per cent against the 1990 levels by 2020. The other is the Paris Agreement adopted late in 2015, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol as the first truly global legal means to reduce emissions.
For the Paris agreement to enter into force, it needs to be ratified by 55 states responsible for at least 55 per cent of global emissions. The EU will join the agreement once each of its 28 member states ratifies it.
The failure to secure Poland in the consensus could undermine the agreement as without Europe the fight to curb climate change loses its main leader, the European Union.
“Poland needs to build new power generation capacity. Coal will remain the basic energy source for years to come, ensuring the country’s energy security as well as jobs,” the government statement reads.
Meanwhile environmental law specialists ClientEarth gave their view on the Polish postion to Power Engineering International.
“Poland won’t be able to meet the commitments set by the Paris Agreement if it continues to develop coal-fired energy. So if Polish officials claim that Poland will ratify the Paris Agreement only when there are financial guarantees for coal-fired power, they are really saying that they may ratify the agreement, but they won’t adhere to it” stated Marcin Stoczkiewicz, senior lawyer and the head of Central & Eastern Europe at ClientEarth."
Meanwhile, in Bavaria they are worried about shortage of power:
The head of Germany’s largest internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer says Bavaria is set for an energy crunch by 2022, with development of the state’s gas-fired power capability the best means of avoiding such an outcome.
Wintershall CEO Mario Mehren told delegates at the German Energy Congress industry event on Tuesday, “In 2022 if not before, Bavaria will face difficulties with its electricity supply.”
Bavaria would have to shut down three currently-operating nuclear power plants by then, amounting to 4 GW, and have to import a large share of its electricity from elsewhere in Germany or beyond instead.
The state is particularly feeling the effects of the government’s decision to phase out nuclear power, while transmission of wind power from the north of the country to the south is too far behind in its current development to offer an alternative.
Mehren said adding that existing gas pipelines in northern Germany could offer an alternative to building expensive new power transmission lines in order to balance electricity supplies, feeding gas-fired power plants and stabilising the grid sufficiently.
Wintershall says that one solution would be to scale up the use of gas-fired power plants in Bavaria. “We would be well-advised to find long-term solutions. In a few years, when nuclear disappears from the market, we will need guaranteed capacities for generating electricity,” said Mehren.
Natural Gas Europe website reported that the CEO also expressed dismay at the failure of the European Commission to approved planned use of the Opal gas pipeline, which would ensure plentiful supplies of gas for the plants.
Wintershall and Gazprom have invested over €1bn to build the 470km Opal pipeline from Greifswald on the Baltic Sea coast to the Czech border, enabling gas to reach southern Germany via the Czech pipeline Gazelle that was commissioned in 2013.
“Brussels shouldn’t block the planned full capacity utilisation of the German pipeline any longer,” he said, adding he hoped the obstacle could be removed this winter.