Warsaw, 26 July 2022
ZPP’s commentary on desirable joint actions of European countries related to the energy threat
The war in Ukraine has formed an entirely new geopolitical situation, and therefore the primary task of all European decision-makers is to ensure sustainable energy independence for the countries of the Old Continent, based on the assumption of a temporary inability to import energy resources.
Further complications of the international situation should be taken into account, including, for example, provoking further conflicts that prevent or impede the import of energy resources, in an unpredictable time frame. Today, a war in any part of the world involving a NATO member will be a global event with consequences that are difficult to foresee.
Having regard to the above, the energy, transport and storage systems of European countries should also take into account such a crisis situation. We should have a precise plan to enable the economies of individual European countries to quickly switch to operation under conditions of resource independence, which, in turn, would probably involve temporary restrictions on the free consumption of energy resources.
In view of the above, we believe that a body should be established that would create solutions related exclusively to ensuring energy and resource security, common for all Member States of the European Union.
This body should prepare a programme to ensure total energy independence of EU countries, including from imports of energy resources. This document should consist of, inter alia:
- Balance of existing resources, including but not limited to oil, gas, coal, biomass, renewables, nuclear, etc.
- Balance of potential resources – cots of exploration, prospecting and extraction of conventional sources; potential availability dates of conventional and other sources (RES, nuclear).
- Programme for the development of individual energy sources in Europe, spread over a timeline.
- European programme for the development of transmission networks, national programmes for the development of high, medium and low voltage networks.
- Distribution of tasks related to ensuring total energy independence between individual European countries.
- Financing system for the programme of European energy independence.
- System of military protection of energy sources and transmission lines of European countries.
The development of such a programme and its systematic introduction into the economic cycle of the EU, together with an active programme of joint purchases of resources from non-European countries, would not only allow the optimisation of prices but also ensure the stability of supply.
All activities related to the creation of a common energy market should be accelerated – for example, establishing a fund for the modernisation of transmission networks and the establishment of cross-border interconnections.
The scenario described above should be a programme axis for the development of a new European energy security system.
The basis for the energy security of a State is the proper development of energy networks. Nowadays, Poland has limited cross-border transmission capacity, and this is a key element of common European energy policy. In the coming years, Polish exporters to European markets may also face the need to purchase green energy, which, in turn, would require Poland to join the European Guarantee of Origin scheme (AIB).
The modernisation and development of low and medium voltage networks will determine the form of development of distributed energy, i.e. the foundation of the contemporary energy security of each country.
The European Commission has recently presented another report on the implementation of the Energy Union project that proposed, among other things, new targets for cross-border interconnections between EU countries.
So far, the country that is the furthest from achieving the targets set by the EC is Poland which has the least developed infrastructure in this respect. In presenting the report on the implementation status of the Energy Union, the representatives of the Brussels administration stressed the need to develop cross-border interconnections between individual EU countries, setting a target of at least 15% share of cross-border interconnections in the energy systems of individual EU countries.
The Commission plans to promote strengthening energy links between individual EU countries by financially supporting the cross-border interconnections which were compiled in a list of so-called Projects of Common Interest (PCS). It is estimated that the share of cross-border interconnections in the Polish electricity system is only 4%. This is the lowest level in the entire European Union.
Only intensive development of cross-border interconnections can guarantee our participation in the pan-European security system. Having a fully liquid energy and gas market in Europe would naturally also result in the harmonisation of the prices of these utilities across the Community. For consumers, the current energy crisis entails periodic intense increases in energy and gas prices; however, in the long term, Poland’s presence in the common market definitely brings more benefits for our country than any variant of energy isolation.