Poland’s Dirty Coal Faces Competition From Cleaner Imports

  • Government has committed to supporting domestic coal industry
  • Cheaper power prices in neighboring markets stimulate imports

Poland’s coal-dominated power market is getting a breath of fresh air.

The eastern European country boosted electricity imports in the first half of the year by 59 percent, according to data from Polish grid operator PSE SA. Most of that was from Sweden, Lithuania and Ukraine, and was generated from wind, hydro and nuclear power.

While the Polish government continues to support coal as the cornerstone of the country’s energy security, most of the electricity flowing in across its borders is both cleaner and cheaper. Polish year-ahead power for delivery around the clock is more than 60 percent more expensive than the Nordic equivalent, according to data from brokers and Nasdaq data.

“Interconnections are still limited for the moment, but the situation has already changed,” said Societe Generale analyst Bartlomiej Kubicki. “There’s more electricity coming from the Nordics, and imports from Ukraine were renewed.”

Polish first-half power imports jumped to 2.9 terawatt-hours from 1.8 terawatt-hours during the same period a year earlier, while exports plunged 71 percent to 0.3 terawatt-hours, grid operator PSE said in an e-mailed message. While domestic coal production rose 3 percent in the period, lignite output fell 10 percent, with the two fuels accounting for 80 percent of the nation’s total demand of almost 82 terawatt-hours, PSE data show.

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