Poland’s plans to build five new gas power plants will cost more than investments into renewables and undermine efforts to reach net zero emissions, according to financial think tank Carbon Tracker. The think tank’s report, published on Thursday (10 February), calls on Poland to abandon its plans to build new gas plants and, instead, switch straight from its current dependency on coal to renewables. According to Carbon Tracker’s analysis, all five of the planned gas projects will prove more costly investments than new wind or solar power and are only made viable thanks to subsidies that could cost the taxpayer almost $4.5 billion.

The plants, which would more than double Poland’s gas power capacity, are due to come online between 2023 and 2027 through guaranteed 17-year capacity market payments. If Poland runs the plants for their full 30-year lifespan, the country would overshoot the EU-level target to reach zero residual emissions, warn Sims and Sani. Europe’s net zero emissions target is only legally binding at the EU level and Poland has made no commitment to reach it on a national level. If it were to keep the plants running past 2050, Poland would be reliant on other EU countries to remove the equivalent of the carbon it emits from the atmosphere.

Alongside the climate concerns, pursuing energy from fossil gas threatens Poland’s energy security and risks locking consumers into high prices, according to the report. Europe is currently facing record-high gas prices and a scarcity of gas supplies. This is worsened by tensions around the Ukrainian border and fears Russia could switch off the gas flowing to Europe – currently 40% of the EU’s supply.

Source: Euractiv




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