Clean energy transition ‘is a social policy issue’, Poles insist

(EurActiv, 11 Apr 2019) The social policy dimension was largely overlooked when the European Union decided energy and climate change objectives for 2030, Poles have warned, calling on policymakers to endorse a “just transition fund” to support the country’s coal phase-out.

The energy transition will bring painful economic and social adjustments, said Piotr Arak, director of the Polish Economic Institute, a public think-tank based in Warsaw.

And Poland, which relies on coal for about 80% of its electricity production, will be among the hardest hit, he told participants at a EURACTIV event last week in Brussels.

The European Commission estimates that about €379 billion of investment will be needed every year – mostly in energy efficiency, renewables, and infrastructure – in order to reach the EU’s 2030 energy and climate objectives.

For Warsaw, the costs are evaluated at €60 billion until 2030 – just for the power sector, Arak said.

“This is a huge challenge which is connected to energy poverty,” he stressed, warning that the issue has “slipped somewhere between the lines” of the EU policymaking process when the 2030 targets were adopted last year.

Around 44% of Poles currently spend more than 10% of their income on energy, Arak pointed out, saying this would make them eligible for energy poverty benefits in certain parts of Europe.

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EurActiv, 11 Apr 2019: Clean energy transition ‘is a social policy issue’, Poles insist