Understanding EU’s and Poland’s RES Goals

In October 2023, the European Union adopted a revision of the directive promoting the development of renewable energy, setting new, higher targets for the community. In Forum Enegrii's report "Understanding EU's and Poland's Renewable Energy Goals", we analyze how the EU targets translate into the realities of Poland and other EU countries.

Key Takeaways

  • Setting goals in the energy sector is crucial to mobilising investment, securing adequate generating capacity in the power and district heating sectors, and adapting the pace of grid infrastructure modernisation.
  • The binding EU RES end-use target is 42.5% by 2030, while the indicative target is set at 45%1. In 2021, EU’s renewable energy consumption stood at 21.8%2, which accounts for approximately half of the end-goal. Due to the distribution of efforts in meeting the goal among EU states, the Polish RES goal is set to be 31.5% by 2030.
  • If Poland’s energy transition followed the existing strategies (i.e., district heating strategy, the latest energy policy scenario, or hydrogen strategy)3, Poland’s contribution towards the EU-wide goals would account for exactly 31.5% of its national energy use.
  • Until now, RES have developed the fastest in the district heating and individual heat sectors. To meet the new targets, the pace of renewables development in these sectors needs to increase.
  • One of the biggest challenges in meeting the RES goals will be the transition of the transport sector. In the last decade, GHG emissions generated by transport increased by as much as 27%4, while electrification is only in its early stages of development.
  • To meet green hydrogen targets, there will need to be a swift development of the market and a support scheme will need to be introduced. Green hydrogen should be used primarily in the industrial sector as well as aviation.
  • Development of RES within the Polish economy towards the 31.5% target will lead to:
  • lower use of fossil fuels in transport by 9% (equivalent of 2 million tonnes of oil) and lower use of coal in district heating, individual heating, and the power sector by 48% (circa 47 million tonnes);
  • maintaining the use of gas at 21 billion cubic meters (bcm) per annum with a simultaneous increase of its use in the power sector and district heating by 2.8 bcm and decrease in individual heating (by 2.6 bcm) and in the industry sector (by about 0.5 bcm).
  • Larger RES use than predicted in the government’s Scenario 3 to the pre-consultation of the NECP and PEP 2040 (from 47% to 70%) would contribute to Poland reaching 40% of RES use in its economy by 2030. A faster transition of the power sector would allow for a larger reduction of GHG in all sectors, as well as a lower need for increasingly expensive emission allowances. Thanks to a larger RES share in the power sector, Poland could be better prepared for the upcoming 2040 goals.

Date of publication:: 8 April 2024

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