The European power system is facing a serious adequacy challenge. This issue cannot be marginalised if constant access to electricity is to remain guaranteed.
The European power sector is changing very fast. The energy sector has become a greenhouse gas reduction leader in order to enable the achievement of the EU climate goals. However, its main responsibility is still the same – delivering electricity to customers in an uninterrupted and safe way, and at acceptable and reasonable prices. This is why adequate capacity of the power system is so important. The threat of inadequacy is a result of decommissioning of significant amounts of capacity from the European power system. For instance, Germany and Belgium are closing nuclear power plants, while many Member States are phasing out coal. In consequence, many EU countries may face threats to their security of supply.
Phasing coal out is an enormous challenge for Poland as coal-fired power plants still account for more than 70% of the energy mix. The transition process should be carried out gradually and cost-effectively in order to ensure security of supply to end-users.
Combined heat and power plants (CHPs). CHPs play a crucial role in the Polish heating system – they are responsible for almost two-thirds of total heat production. CHPs are also very important for the Polish National Power System – currently around 16% of electricity supplied to the system comes from these units thus improving security of supply. Many analyses indicate that it is necessary to deploy new gas-fired CHP plants in Poland in order to avoid adequacy problems.
However, new very strict rules for CHPs and efficient district heating systems proposed in the Energy Efficiency Directive recast, might in practice impede the development of these installations or replacement of existing carbon sources with low-emission ones. Additional burden is imposed by the increased taxation of natural gas proposed in the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive.