Observing the situation in the power industry it is easy to see that there are very deep changes in it. They rely primarily on moving away from conventional energy to renewable energy. This is particularly the case for energy in the European Union. Europe strives to be a forerunner in renewable technologies and a leader in the fight against global warming. The mining industry is being abolished and coal-fired power stations are being displaced by renewable energy sources. This situation is not only a result of EU directives but also of grassroots social initiatives inspired by environmental groups. The new lignite openings are being blocked, due to the lack of public acceptance, and the construction of conventional power plants. They do not help economic arguments for the development of energy based on coal, lignite, fuel that is significantly cheaper than the other, or to provide potential investors with the creation of new jobs. Also, coal investments are suspended in other regions of the world. CoalSwarm coal research shows that 2016 saw a dramatic fall in the amount of coal investment in the world. Even in China and India, where most of the coal industry has developed in recent years, about 100 investments have been suspended. The situation in the US is unclear. Although Barack Obama signed the Paris Agreement, current United States President Donal Trump has spoken out about this agreement and in numerous speeches and is eager to return to the dominant role of coal in the American economy. Poland still maintains the carbon structure of the power industry, but the Minister of Energy has announced that the new block at the Ostrołęka power plant will be the last coal-fired power plant to be built in Poland. This statement allows us to believe that there may be a return to Poland’s energy policy in the nearest future, and the long-awaited document, Poland’s energy policy until 2050, will determine the direction of change for the coming years.
The energy security of the European Union is still a concept, rather than the actual action. It was confirmed by legal regulations that give Member States the possibility of individual control of energy security. Furthermore, EU Member States can perform unilateral energy policy, which is often in the interest of the most powerful countries. The concept of energy solidarity, solidarity mechanisms of energy flows directly from the Treaty of Maastricht. This was intended to help to increase energy security, and above all, its construction at the EU level. The functioning of the European Communities and the European Union is showing that the goal of building energy security of the European Union is still in the process of creation and still remain a certain course of action. Following th energy crisis of 2009 we can observe discussion about the concept of energy union, as a way to build energy security of the European Union. Currently, its energy security is limited to the definition adopted by the European Commission and activities aimed at the development of energy infrastructure of Community interest, which contributes to improving EU energy security. The aim of this article is analyze the concept of energy union and attempt to answer the question whether it has a real chance of success, and whether the concept of the proposed shape will be effective and necessary. These questions are important because of we can observe discrepancies between the regulations, promotion of building a common energy security and the practical action of individual Member States of the European Union.
Economic development is strictly dependent on access to inexpensive and reliable energy sources based on diversified primary fuels. The strategic framework for the construction of the energy mix is defined in the Energy Policy of the State, the content of which, in terms of its mandatory elements, has been specified in the Energy Law. The task of the Energy Policy of the State is to create the shape of the future power sector, including designing the most advantageous regulatory, system and technical solutions guaranteeing the appropriate level of energy security of the country, monitoring of the system’s evolution and also designing and implementing changes aimed at the optimization of the functioning mechanisms. The vision of the development of the power system at the global level should also reflect changes in the formation of dispersed civil energy structures. Unfortunately, the results of the conducted analyses reveal existing imperfections of the data acquisition and information system, which should be used in the planning process. This issue is particularly important from the perspective of the dynamically developing concept of the energy self-sufficiency of communes and the emergence of energy clusters. The present paper describes the functioning of strategic planning in the field of the electric power system with an illustration of the improperly functioning mechanisms of information transfer in the context of the advancement of dispersed civil energy structures.
The aim of the article is to discuss and assess the diversification of renewable energy sources consumption in European Union member states. The time scope covers 2005 and 2015. The data comes from Eurostat. The analysis was based on synthetic indicators – using a non-standard method. Synthetic indicators were assessed based on three simple features such as: the share of renewable energy in energy consumption in 2015, the difference between the share of renewable energy in energy consumption in 2015 and in 2005 (in percentage points), deficit/surplus in the 2020 target reached in 2015 (in percentage points). The European Union member states were divided into four diversified group in terms of renewable energy sources consumption (first class – a very high level, second class – quite a high level, third class – quite a low level, fourth class – a very low level). Then the divided groups were analyzed according to the share of renewable energy sources in the primary production of renewable energy and the consumption of individual renewable energy sources. During the research period renewable energy consumption increased in the European Union, but individual member states are characterized by a diverse situation. The type of energy used depends largely on national resources. The countries of Northern Europe are characterized by a greater share of renewable energy sources in consumption. Biomass is the most popular renewable source of energy in the European Union. Depending on the conditions of individual countries – it is agricultural and forest biomass.
Intensive modernization and reconstruction of the energy sector takes place throughout the world. The EU climate and energy policy will have a huge impact on the development of the energy sector in the coming years. The European Union has adopted ambitious goals of transforming towards a low-carbon economy and the integration of the energy market. In June 2015, the G7 countries announced that they will move away from coal fired energy generation. Germany, which has adopted one of the most ambitious energy transformation programs among all industrialized countries, is leading these transformations. The long-term strategy, which has been implemented for many years, allowed for planning the fundamental transformation of the energy sector; after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Germany opted for a total withdrawal from nuclear energy and coal in favor of renewable energy. The German energy transformation is mainly based on wind and solar energy. Germany is the fifth economic power in the world and the largest economy in Europe. Therefore, the German energy policy affects the energy policy of the neighboring countries. The article presents the main assumptions of the German energy policy (referred to as Energiewende). It also presents the impact of changes in the German energy sector on the development of energy systems in selected European countries.
The aspect of climate change in the modern world is one of the broader issues of global social and economic policy. Climate change implies a modification of the business environment, especially the energy sector. Any change in the conditions in which the company operates is the cause, the effect of which becomes its financial situation during the relevant period. Therefore, climate policy will play an increasingly important role in shaping the energy of the future. At present, energy companies are taking measures to process primary energy from fossil fuels, in particular coal, in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. The article presents the impact of international climate agreements on the energy and coal industries. The latest agreement signed in Paris defines a global plan to minimize the dangerous effects of global warming on the climate arising from carbon emissions. The most important outcome of the agreement was the unification of many countries with a common goal. The European Union played a key role in signing the first legally binding agreement in the world, which is also a forerunner in the carbon trading system: EU ETS (European Union Emission Trading Scheme) The US-based CO2 emissions trading system has become a model for the European Commission. In addition, the article highlights the correlation between the EUA ( European Union Allowances) and “ARA coal” prices as well as the role of the coal market in price formation of emission allowances.
Natural gas plays a significant role in the energy structure of many world economies. Many of them are highly dependent on domestic resources exploitation, other on its deliveries from non-domestic directions. In Poland its importance was relatively low, but in recent years we can observe an increase of interest in this raw material. The aim of the paper is to present the role of natural gas as a primary energy carrier and to determine its impact on the sustainable development and energy security of Poland. The role of gas in the European Union restrictions and development of the domestic economy is also a point. Theoretical deliberations are focused on the most important features of the Polish natural gas market. The article presents the most important national regulations concerning the development of the gas sector in Poland. The amount of natural gas resources are shown as well as indigenous production of the fuel and imports, including the directions from which natural gas is imported. Both political and geographical aspects of the directions of natural gas acquisition are discussed. The level and potential abilities of the diversification of the natural gas supply are discussed. The importance of gas storages in underground gas repositories is underlined. The authors point to the increase in the diversification of raw materials in the structure of electricity, heat production and the transition to pro-ecological fuels.
Assumptions of the major political and legal documents of the European Union, dedicated to energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings provide the Member States with relevant instruments supporting improvement of the ambient air qualityby dissemination of measures reducing energy demand and promotion of renewable energysources. Mainstreaming EU legislation into national regulations constitutes initial stage of the long term process of supporting implementation of energy efficiency measures. Experience in the improvement of energy performance of the residential buildings revealslimited efficiency of the measures implemented up to date, which results in significantair pollution of Polish cities. The national Action Plans had adopted a limited scope of recommendations included in the EU directives, hence the process meets significant challenges.The article describes adaptation of the relevant EU directives as well as the National Urban Policy in terms of the potential to effectively address faced challenges.
The role and importance of energy security increases with the development of civilization, whose inherent element has become the demand for energy and its carriers. The article discusses the issue of cooperation in the field of energy security in Central Europe at the moment of finishing work on the North-South Corridor, which changes the existing gas architecture in the region. In order to better understand the situation in the region, the energy systems of the Visegrad Group countries, identical to the Central European region, have been analysed, according to the definition of the World Bank and OECD. Considering the historical and geopolitical connections of the Visegrad Group’s fate, it is important to create a common gas market. The physical interconnection of gas systems greatly increases energy security in this region. Moreover, thanks to the construction of LNG terminals in Poland and Croatia, it will be possible to diversify not only the routes, but also the sources of supply of this important raw material.
The article presents the EU legislative procedure and decision-making processes with a special emphasis on decisions regarding energy policy. It has been pointed out that most of the energy related legal acts, including the renewable energy directive and those aimed at the gradual reduction of emissions of harmful substances, are adopted according to the ordinary legislative procedure. However, special legislative procedures apply in the case of international agreements between the European Union and third countries. The trilogues, i.e. meetings of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council, aimed at reaching a common position before the first reading in the EP, are of great importance in decision making. The article also discusses the problem of energy policy and its impact on the environment, recalling the relevant articles of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union. The most important paths of influence of the Member States on new legal acts in the context of energy policy have also been shown. This is an extremely important issue from the investors’ point of view, since projects related to the energy industry have a very long payback period, so the stability and predictability of the Community’s energy policy is of paramount importance to them. The possibilities of shaping new laws related to energy at the stage of preparing a regulation are discussed later in the article. The work of parliamentary committees, especially those related to energy, i.e. the ITRE (The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy) Committee and ENVI (The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) has also been discussed. In addition, the article clearly shows different approaches of Western European countries and the Central and Eastern European countries (including Poland) towards energy issues.
The article compares the management of energy resources in Poland and Ukraine over the period 2000–2017. The analysis took changes in the volume of coal, oil and natural gas resources into consideration. The indicators of supplies of these fuels for Poland and Ukraine have additionally been compared with selected EU countries. In order to assess energy security of Poland and Ukraine, the changes in the primary energy consumption have been analyzed in general in first order, then the possibilities of meeting the demand for natural gas, coal and oil have been determined based on the domestic extraction of individual energy resources. Such a comparison indicates the dominant role of coal in Poland while the extraction of oil and natural gas meets the domestic demand to a greater extent in Ukraine. Over the period 2000-2017, trends in primary energy consumption were different; a 17% increase was noted in Poland, while a nearly 40% decline was noted in Ukraine. The main factors responsible for radical changes in fuel and energy management in Ukraine have been identified: military operations in the east of the country and the annexation of Crimea, demographic changes. These events had a negative impact especially on the volume of hard coal mining in Ukraine; the significant increase in imports from 5.36 to 19.14 million tons in 2011-2017 was necessary for balancing. The balance of foreign exchange for electricity was also compared. Over the past years, this comparison has been favorable for Ukraine, where the dominance of electricity exports over imports is noticeable, which generated revenues of over USD 200 million in 2017.
The article presents the question of solidarity in relation to the energy policy of the European Union. This topic seems particularly important in the context of the crisis of the European integration process, which includes, in particular, economic problems, the migration crisis and the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit). The issue of solidarity was analyzed from the legal and formal, institutional, and functional and relational points of view. The aim of the article is to show to what extent the theoretical assumptions, resulting from the provisions of European law on the solidarity, correspond with the actions of the Member States in the energy sector. The practice of the integration process indicates that the particular national economic interests in the energy sector are more important for the Member States than working towards European solidarity. Meanwhile, without a sense of responsibility for the pan-European interest, it is not possible to effectively implement the EU’s energy policy. The European Commission – as the guardian of the treaties – confronts the Member States with ambitious challenges to be undertaken “in the spirit of solidarity”. In the verbal sphere, this is supported by by capitals of the individual countries, but in practice, the actions taken divide the Member States into opposing camps instead of building a sense of the European energy community. This applies in particular to such issues as: the management of the energy union, investments in the gas sector (e.g. Nord Stream I and Nord Stream II), and the position towards third countries – suppliers of energy raw materials to the EU (in particular towards the Russian Federation). Different views on the above problems make it extremely difficult for Member States to take action “in the spirit of energy solidarity”. Thus, the energy problem becomes another reason for the weakening of European unity.
The paper presents a comparison of selected power technologies from the point of view of emissions of greenhouse gases. Such evaluation is most often based only on analysis of direct emissions from combustion. However, the direct analysis does not show full picture of the problem as significant emissions of GHG appear also in the process of mining and transportation of fuel. It is demonstrated in the paper that comparison of power technologies from the GHG point of view has to be done using the cumulative calculus covering the whole cycle of fuel mining, processing, transportation and end-use. From this point of view coal technologies are in comparable level as gas technologies while nuclear power units are characterised with lowest GHG emissions. Mentioned technologies are compared from the point of view of GHG emissions in full cycle. Specific GHG cumulative emission factors per unit of generated electricity are determined. These factors have been applied to simulation of the influence of introduction of nuclear power units on decrease of GHG emissions in domestic scale. Within the presented simulations the prognosis of domestic power sector development according to the Polish energy policy till 2030 has been taken into account. The profitability of introduction of nuclear power units from the point of view of decreasing GHG emissions has been proved.
Basing on the first and second law of thermodynamics the fundamental trends in the Polish energy policy are analysed, including the aspects of environmental protection. The thermodynamical improvement of real processes (reduction of exergy losses) is the main way leading to an improvement of the effectivity of energy consumption. If the exergy loss is economically not justified, we have to do with an error from the viewpoint of the second law analysis. The paper contains a thermodynamical analysis of the ratio of final and primary energy, as well as the analysis of the thermo-ecological cost and index of sustainable development concerning primary energy. Analyses of thermo-ecological costs concerning electricity and centralized heat production have been also carried out. The effect of increasing the share of high-efficiency cogeneration has been analyzed, too. Attention has been paid to an improved efficiency of the transmission and distribution of electricity, which is of special importance from the viewpoint of the second law analysis. The improvement of the energy effectivity in industry was analyzed on the example of physical recuperation, being of special importance from the point of view of exergy analysis.
The paper presents the impact of the reformed EU ETS (Emission Trading Scheme – ETS in the European Union) on the currently operating market for trading in CO2 emission allowances. The new Directive introduced a number of changes aimed at tightening the climate policy, which the Polish energy sector based mainly on hard coal may mean an increase in the costs of electricity production, and thus an increase in the cost of the entire economy. The main goal of the changes is to achieve one of the objectives the European Union has set for itself, i.e. the reduction of CO2 emissions by 40% until the year 2030. These assumptions are the result of joint arrangements of the EU countries under the Paris Agreement on climate change adopted in 2015. The Directive introduces a new market stability reserve mechanism (MSR) which, according to its assumptions, is designed to ensure a demand and supply balance of the ETS. Bearing the balance in mind, it means the reduction of excess allowances, which, although their number is decreasing, it is decreasing to slowly according to EU legislators, still oscillating around 2 billion EUA. The paper also draws attention to the rigorous assumptions adopted in the new Directive, aimed at increasing the price of CO2, that is the costs in electricity production. Due to manually-controlled prices, are we doomed to high CO2 prices and therefore the prices of electricity? What are its estimated maximum levels? Will the new assumptions encourage the Member States to switch to lowcarbon technologies? Can they weaken the economies of countries that are currently based mainly on coal energy sources, and strengthen countries where green energy is developed?