Poland is in no hurry to ditch coal power any time soon but the Eastern European country’s new prime minister insists nuclear energy and renewable sources are a part of Poland’s future energy mix.
In his first policy speech on Tuesday (12 December), Mateusz Morawiecki, a Western-educated former banker fluent in German and English, did not signal a major departure for now from the pro-coal policies of his ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS).
But his comments did suggest the government could give a push to a much-delayed plan to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant.
“Today coal is the basis of our energy industry and we cannot and do not want to give it up,” Morawiecki said. Poland gets around 90% of its electricity from coal.
“For our future generations, I would also like alternative energy sources to develop freely in Poland. Our task is to guarantee Poland the energy independence at low carbon emissions and this is why we look favourably at nuclear energy,” he said.
He also said the nation should consider renewable power sources.
A project to build a nuclear power plant was announced in 2009 but has been hit by several delays, with financing posing one of the main obstacles.
Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski has been pushing to build the nuclear plant but needs cabinet approval for a renewed push. Morawiecki may have given those plans a boost.
PiS has long championed Poland’s use of coal, a fuel that is falling out of favour in a global push to cut greenhouse gases. But global pressures to shift away from coal and Poland’s shrinking deposits are encouraging the country to consider its future plans for power generation, analysts say.
Morawiecki was sworn in on Monday, replacing Beata Szydło, a coalminer’s daughter, who had promised to keep mining jobs when the industry struggled to survive in 2015.