M is for manoeuvring. What is the future of the energy sector in Poland? The topic of the latest Executive Club meeting was “Innovative Energy”. Representatives of major companies from the sector gathered on 3 October in the Bristol hotel in Warsaw to conduct a debate on innovaions in the energy sector, coal policy and RES.
Participants of the first discussion panel, moderated by Dorota Dębińska-Pokorska – Partner at PwC Energy Group, talked about the perspectives of the energy sector and innovations in the branch as well as the ways in which modern solutions involving cooperation between science and business could be implemented. Sylwia Bilska, General Manager and Member of the Management Board at PayU noticed that the progress of digitalisation is visible everywhere, including the energy sector; Mieczysław Koch, President of the Management Board of PGE Energia Odnawialna pointed to the need to change our approach given the increasing importance of RES. The speakers also agreed as to the necessity to support the state sector in technology development, in particular in the context of cooperation between science and business, which requires a three-element structure, i.e. inventor, innovator and investor, as pointed out by Rafał Lipiński – President of the Management Board of SEEN Holding. PGE EO makes investments in research and development, including PV cells and intelligent grid management. As far as the future of RES in Poland is concerned, all the participants saw the need for new legislation and providing conditions which would be conducive to creation of new technologies, in particular those which use green energy because this is where the future of energy generation in Poland lies. When asked about grids, Roman Szwed, President of the Management Board of ATENDE is of the opinion that the age of grids is approaching and it is commonsensical to implement them in households. In terms of the final question, i.e. challenges, Sylwia Bilska referred to e-customer service, Mieczysław Koch and Roman Szwed both mentioned legislation and stable situation in the legal system and Rafał Lipiński pointed to modernising the conventional energy sector.
The second discussion panel showed in a nutshell all key problems related to long-term investments in the Polish energy sector and changes in the business model in the sector. Issues which were addressed include strategic directions of the development of the energy sector and matters concerning coal and CO2 emissions and challenges which the energy sector will face, Poland’s climate commitments to be met by 2030, chances for a breakthrough and new business models and what is it that representatives of the sector are most afraid of. Building a nuclear power plant or Energy mix?
Other topics included sale of EDF’s heating assets in Poland and prices of heat and electricity. President Maciej Bando emphasised that the Energy Regulatory Office does not have an overall impact on the prices of energy and it the energy concerns that mainly shape the prices. The speakers agreed that transfer and distribution are underfinanced in Poland and the country lacks modern solutions; Piotr Witczyński, General Director at Oracle Polska pointed to the fact that one major concern spends 7 million on paper; in Germany, the connection process takes 60 minutes and in Poland it takes as long as 300 minutes.
Innovations in the sector were also discussed; Dariusz Jasak – President of the Management Board of VEOLIA WATER TECHNOLOGIES pointed to modern solutions for wastewater disposal whereby wastewater becomes raw material for producing energy e.g. in dairies.
What made the discussion panel particularly challenging was that prof. Konrad Świrski, expert on energy from the Warsaw University of Technology and President of Transition Technologies, asked precise questions and expected even more precise answers, including about the difficult choice between coal, nuclear energy, gas and RES, outlook for new investments, building a Polish nuclear power plant and 2030 climate commitments.
The matter of financing investments was also addressed; the question was whether any supporting measures are required and will end users have to pay higher prices (the typical clash between investors, concerns and expectations for support models on the one hand and a balanced position of the regulator, who supervises the market and does not want to interfere with the market price of energy, on the other). When asked about coal, energy concerns, Polish companies and the regulator were AGAINST and international concerns were FOR. The speakers then shared their expectations as to major market changes in terms of business models. Piotr Kołodziej – Executive Director for Asset Management at Tauron Polska Energia convinced other participants that there was no point in yielding to EU requirements and abandoning coal altogether; the right solution would be to use coal with the aid of new technologies. Piotr Witczyński and Sławomir Żygowski, Sales Director at GE Power, emphasised the need for digitisation and computerisation of the energy sector and Maciej Bando was in favour of connecting flagship RES with distributed energy and basic solutions.
The participants shared their fears as to potential negative developments in the future (impact of emission caps, BREF standards and investment costs, dominant role of coal which distances Poland from innovations, lack of decisions in the energy sector and the need to constantly manoeuvre between climate requirements which are impossible to meet and the current situation in the sector, or wasted opportunities in the IT industry).
Honorary patronage: Minister of Energy, Krzyszof Tchórzewski
Patronage: Polish Association for Energy Certification, Institute for Renewable Energy
Partners: ATENDE SA, ING Bank Śląski SA, GE, PayU, Oracle Polska, PwC Polska, Schneider Electric, Seen Holding
Media partners: Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, PAP Biznes, Polish Market, CEO Magazyn, Rynek Inwestycji, Biznes Alert, Czysta Energia, eBiomasa.pl, Elektroinżyniera.pl, Energetyka Cieplna i Zawodowa, Energetyka Jutra, Energetyka Wodna, Energetyka, Energiai My, Fundacja REO, Gram w Zielone, Instytut Energii Odnawialnej, Investing.com, inżynieria.com, kierunekenergetyka.pl, kampaniespoleczne.eu, Law Business Quality, Newseria, OdnawialneZrodlaEnergii.pl, Paliwa i Energetyka, Teraz Środowisko, Warsaw Business Journal, wysokienapiecie.pl
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Executive Club is an organization bringing together the members of top management representing the most important Polish and international companies. Since 2005, the Club has assembled well-established business leaders, whose actions set standards in the development of the Polish economy. The Club organizes regular meetings for its members to provide them with opportunities for business networking and sharing ideas. For more information, please visit our website: www.executive-club.com.pl