Coal is to Poland what natural gas is to Germany. The country is dependent – and as a result of the war, prices rose sharply. Poland is now pinning hope on nuclear energy.
You can smell winter in Polish cities. However, it does not have a nice smell in winter. Coal is the most important source of energy between the Oder and the Bug. Almost 80 percent of the electricity produced in Poland is produced from coal. More precisely, 51 percent hard coal, 28 percent lignite.
For many citizens, the situation is no different. Three million Polish households are heated with coal. Also due to the fact that many of them cannot afford remodeling. Here’s what you notice in Polish cities because of the air quality that ranks among the worst in Europe in winter.
Heating with charcoal has become unaffordable
But this winter could make the air quality worse in Poland, as many households fear that in the cold months ahead, things that shouldn’t really be burned will be tossed into the stove. However, they have the endorsement of Jarosław Kaczyński, head of the ruling PiS in Poland:
He said this in September in response to the rise in coal prices in recent months. Last year a ton of hard coal cost 960 zlotys, which is 205 euros in today’s exchange rate, and 3,600 zlotys in autumn. This not only increased energy prices in Poland, but also made heating unaffordable for many families.
Poland is dependent on Russian coal.
Rising energy prices in Poland, as in Germany, are the result of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. But while people in this country became dependent on Russian gas, Russian coal became available in the neighboring country. Six million tons of the 10 million tons of coal imported by Poland in 2021 came from Russia. However, sanctions have been imposed on Russian coal since spring.
To make the energy crisis bearable for the public, the national conservative government already in June allowed citizens to collect brushwood and kindling from forests for their own use. In addition, several billion-dollar subsidies program that should support the citizens followed.
Ceiling price for coal backfires
On application, there was not only a heating cost subsidy of around 650 euros for the purchase of coal, but also a price ceiling of 2,000 zlotys per tonne of coal that municipalities would sell to citizens from January 2023. Still, the Polish government estimates that around 600,000 to 700,000 households do not have coal for the coming winter. However, 60 percent of these households are said to have declared that they will switch to wood for heating this winter.
However, the ceiling price set by the government for coal, which has been purchased at high prices in recent months, may now be a problem. The price of coal was around $380 per ton in summer, compared to 184 euros in November. “So it may soon turn out that the regulated price of 2,000 zloty will be higher than the price on the world market,” Łukasz Herbacz, head of the Polish Chamber of Commerce of coal traders, told the Money.pl portal this week.
Most Poles want to switch to nuclear energy
At the same time, the current situation has inflamed the energy transition debate in Poland that has been going on for years. This is exactly what is expected from nuclear energy. At the beginning of November, the Polish government adopted a draft resolution on the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Poland, which will be put into operation in cooperation with the US concern Westinghouse 2033 in the town of Lubiatowo-Kopalino, Pomerania. The cost of the new power plant with three reactors: 20 billion euros. In addition, more nuclear power plants will be built in Poland. A large resistance of the population is not expected. In a recent survey, 85 percent of respondents favor nuclear power in Poland.
I am Timothy Glover, a professional journalist and content creator. I specialize in writing and editing for news websites, specifically covering politics. I have been working as an author at News Unrolled for the past five years and have built up a reputation for producing quality content that is both informative and engaging.