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EU Winter Package CO2 proposal unacceptable: Poland

Warsaw — * EC proposed 550kg/MWh cap for units supported by capacity markets
* 28 GW of existing Polish coal, lignite don't meet that standard

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The proposed limit on CO2 emissions in the EU's 'Winter Package' is 'unacceptable' to Poland, which is dependent on coal and lignite for most of its electricity generation, Piotr Naimski, the government's adviser on strategic energy infrastructure said late Friday.

In November, as part of the 'Winter Package', the European Commission proposed that only generating units that emit up to 550 kg/MWh of CO2 would be eligible for support from a capacity market.

Poland is currently preparing to introduce a capacity market based on centralized capacity auctions similar to the system currently operated in the UK. The government would like the first auction for capacity to be delivered in 2021 to take place by the end of this year.

"This is unacceptable for us," Naimski told reporters, when asked about the emission cap proposal. Naimski said hard coal and lignite would remain the basic source of electricity generation in Poland for the next 30 years because they are a relatively cheap source of fuel and they guarantee the country's energy security.

The Polish Electricity Association (PKEE), which includes the country's four vertically integrated state utilities, has said it opposes the proposal, even taking into account that Polish generators would benefit from a five-year derogation period from the time the restriction comes into force.

"Nearly 28 GW would be excluded from the future Capacity mechanism; this gap cannot be covered by energy import (the available interconnector's capacity is estimated to reach 3 GW)," the PKEE said in its position paper on the Winter Package in December.

The installed capacity of the Polish electricity system amounts to roughly 38 GW. The Commission's proposal would apply to new units from the date it takes effect, while existing Polish plants would get a five-year derogation.

--Adam Easton,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,