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80% emissions cut in Poland by 2040 within reach, think tank says

Poland’s State Secretary at the Climate and Environment Ministry Urszula Zielinska urged the EU last Monday (15 January) to “embrace” a plan to slash 90 per cent of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

Warsaw-based think tank Instrat published a report in December which showed that an 80 per cent CO₂ reduction for Poland in the 2040 horizon would be feasible. In this scenario, 84 per cent of the domestic electricity demand would be covered by renewable energy sources (RES).

In the report, Instrat modelled two scenarios for the development of renewables – one takes into account the deployment of nuclear power upheld by the new Polish government, while the other shows the consequences of abandoning the nuclear programme.

The nuclear scenario showed that even with the inclusion of nuclear in the mix, 84 per cent is a realistic and economically viable target for the share of renewables in filling the national electricity demand in 2040. Nuclear would cover 14 per cent, while natural gas would cover the remaining energy demand, according to the report.

According to Mr Kubiczek, the Polish electricity system would cope with the variability of production resulting from the increasing role of wind and solar. “The deployment of RES has to be followed by an increase in storage capacity and an increase in demand flexibility due to the electrification of sectors. This way we will avoid the absurd 40 per cent loss of energy from wind and solar, as envisioned in the unofficial scenario published by the government in June 2023. Today we are demonstrating that a system based on weather-dependent RES, backed up by infrequently used conventional capacity, can work well.”

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