If Poland does not come to an agreement on the NRP in the coming months - it will be too late for sensible spending of the money available to the country. By the end of June, the Polish government may present to the European Commission changes to the spending plan for the National Recovery Plan - completed with investments to increase resilience to the energy crisis. Consultations with the EC are just starting. This is the last bell for Poland to reach for loans and grants under the the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the REPowerEU plan. How to change the Polish NRP to make it a practical response to the energy crisis?
Poland's support in the energy crisis. Last call for NRP
The analysis is available only in Polish.
Because of the tensions between Warsaw and Brussels, Poland has not begun to use the available NRP money, although the needs of companies and households in the wake of the energy crisis are enormous. Time for meaningful action is running out - investments under the NRP should be completed and accounted for by the end of 2026, so it is necessary to look for projects that are relatively simple to implement and replicable.
- In the NRP, funding priorities need to be changed, some large projects written by large companies need to be abandoned, because due to the delays of the NRP - there will be no time to complete them. But smaller companies and households are in a different situation - they are struggling with high energy prices, inflation. There will be no money to freeze prices after the elections, and the energy crisis is not at all definitively over. We need relatively simple, quick-to-implement measures. First of all, support energy efficiency, development of RES. Huge challenges are on the side of distribution networks," points out the report's author, Dr. Sonia Buchholtz, Forum Energii.
- The government should look at the National Recovery Plan in 2023 as a tool that can increase our resilience to energy crises. It's good that we are cut off fuels from Russia - but at the same time we are becoming dependent on supplies from other, often politically insecure directions. We need to bet on energy independence, which is provided by improving energy efficiency and increasing the role of RES - locally produced energy. Poland cannot remain a single country that does not reach for funds from the NRP because it will reduce our advantages against other EU countries," points out Dr. Joanna Pandera, president of the Forum Energii.
In this report, Forum Energii identifies specific investment activities that are relatively quick to implement, and a set of non-investment recommendations that will help set strategic directions and goals for the energy transition.
Examples of investment activities
- Preparatory work for the expansion and modernization of low- and medium-voltage grids
- grids development is a prerequisite for the dissemination of RES, and thus - freeing the Polish economy from fuel imports from Russia and other countries. It is necessary to support network development planning and modernization.
- Redesign of the energy efficiency program in enterprises
- solutions should be prepared to reduce demand for energy resources in industry - especially gas, for which there will be increasing competition throughout the economy. There is a need for a well-designed public program to support energy efficiency in industry, such as competitions to reduce gas consumption in enterprises or changes to the white certificate system.
- Redirecting money to improve employees' skills in thermal modernization and installation of heating equipment and RES installations
- The energy transition will not go smoothly without a properly qualified workforce. Already there is a clear shortage of installers and energy efficiency experts. The state should support programs to improve the skills of the workforce.
- Increasing the pool of funds for improving the energy efficiency of buildings and replacing heating sources
- The potential for improving the energy performance of buildings in Poland is enormous. This will contribute to savings in the budgets of households and companies, and reduce the import of coal or gas for heating purposes. In addition, it is worth remembering that the manufacturers of many materials useful in thermomodernization are Polish companies. Increasing the scale of energy efficiency improvements-for example, through tax incentives-would strengthen the role of domestic entities (so-called Local content) in the implementation of NRP.
In addition to investment measures, in its report the Forum Energii also makes 11 non-investment recommendations, the implementation of which does not require the expenditure of additional funds - for which they can increase Poland's resilience to energy crises. These are strategic choices that will define the future directions of the Polish economy and energy transition. Among the recommendations are proposals for changes to serve and optimize the operation of key institutions responsible for the transition, such as the Energy Regulatory Office, as well as legal solutions to accelerate the development of RES in Poland (e.g. direct lines for industrial consumers of green energy or support for prosumers).
Date of publication:: 3 April 2023
dr Sonia Buchholtz