“Security of energy supply and gas diversification in Poland”, Csaba Weiner (IWE, Hungary)

Poland entered the twenty-first century with an unsustainable energy/electricity mix, strongly overdependent on coal. This situation seems to be changing very slowly, while there are multiple factors that make it imperative for the issue to be urgently addressed. On the one hand, this paper aims to assess the security of the stationary fuel supply by applying the conventional three-dimensional approach, encompassing availability, affordability and sustainability. On the other, we plan to use our own scheme to analyse gas diversification (Weiner, 2017: 6), i.e. a fuel which, alongside coal, is a very sensitive issue linked to the security of the Polish electric power fuel supply. We demonstrate that the three-dimensional approach is also appropriate for addressing the issue of supply security in the case of a country with a securitized energy agenda based on fears of problems with the availability and affordability of Russian gas supplies. It also highlights Poland’s concern over foreign technological reliance regarding renewables production. We show how the energy perspective, the institutional context, as well as perceptions regarding threat, dependence and Russia influence choices made from among different security of supply dimensions. We find that though the role of coal will surely decrease, there is great uncertainty about Poland’s energy policy and security of supply because of deficiencies in infrastructure and the unknown future role of the particular fuels in the energy/electricity mix, also expected to include nuclear. We can observe that every energy policy step possible is being taken to maintain the role of coal, and Poland moves toward sustainability only as much and as soon as it is required by its EU membership. Not only does the coal industry capture Poland’s energy policy, but also geopolitical considerations cement reliance on coal, providing low energy import dependence. Regarding gas, we find that since the January 2009 Russian–Ukrainian gas crisis, Poland has taken action to diversify its gas supplies.

Full paper here.