WARSAW, June 13 (Reuters) – Poland has deferred a plan to cut its reliance on coal by changing the status of its energy policy update to a consultation ahead of elections later this year, following pressure from mining unions.
The climate ministry published in April a document it began working on after Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, causing major disruption in energy markets.
It called for a doubling of renewable capacity to 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 and a further increase to 88 GW by 2040, but the climate ministry website said it will now feed into an all-industry strategy update.
“It has been decided that the work put into the document will be used to prepare a broader energy strategy encompassing other industries,” the ministry spokesman Aleksander Brzozka told Reuters on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki signed an agreement with the biggest trade union that calls for more consultations on strategy for the Polish energy industry.
In 2021, the government said the country will continue mining coal, which is used to generate some 70% of Poland’s power, until 2049.
Michal Hetmanski, head of Instrat, a Warsaw-based independent think tank, said the change of status ruled out the plan’s being adopted before elections due in October or November, adding it “yet again questions the government mandate to plan an energy transition at all”. “It is peculiar that the government wants to consult the strategy soon after proposing it due to the pressure from powerful coal mining unions,” Hetmanski told Reuters.