Interview | Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Development, Government of Poland

09 March 2020

The Ministry of Development is responsible for matters related to the Polish economy, construction, spatial planning and development as well as tourism. Jadwiga Emilewicz was appointed as Minister of Development on November 15, 2019.

 

Ms. Emilewicz, you have recently been appointed as Minister of Development. What key ambitions are you pursuing during your mandate?

Two powerful divisions joined the Ministry of Development – tourism and construction. Tourism is responsible for about 6% of Poland’s GDP, while the housing sector for around 8%. We will continue to work on amending the regulation to make it more entrepreneur-friendly.

As for the energy sector, we will continue to develop a prosumer energy market in Poland. I am the head of the inter-ministerial team for facilitating the development of prosumer energy. We prepared an amendment to the RES legal act and we want to continue working on it.

Poland holds a huge stake in EU’s path towards carbon neutrality, however, it recently opted out of this goal - how much progress can Poland realistically make by 2050?

We do not completely give up climate neutrality, but we want to reach it at our own pace. We want to carry out energy transformation in a safe and economically beneficial way. It is too early to say at what stage we will be in 2050 because we do not know what the technology will look like in 10 or 20 years. Entrepreneurs need regulatory incentives and financial support to meet the challenge of transforming the entire model of current consumption habits and production chains.

 

I understand the need to start the transformation and I see the opportunities associated with it but there are also threats, which need to be honestly discussed: the rising costs of living in Europe, the potential decrease in the standard of living for our citizens, the lack of affordable and secure energy, or the question of re-qualification of mining industry workers. 

 

So we don't ask ourselves questions about whether we need energy transformation, but we are thinking about how to carry it out sustainably. Energy transformation is already happening, which is confirmed by the fact that just in 2019 Poles built home installations adding up to 800 MW. 

Solar is booming in Poland but the onshore wind still finds itself limited by the 10H rule. Can we expect this rule to be amended throughout 2020? In what way?

Certainly, in the next 30 years, we would like to increase the power generated from the wind on land and at sea. Especially that in the perspective of 30 years we can count on lowering the prices of low-emission technologies, including wind and solar energy. Their installation costs have already become cheaper.

The debate around nuclear energy continues, though many market players expressed doubt that it can become a reality. What are the pros and cons that the Government is weighing to make this decision?

In the course of work on the Strategy for Transformation into a Climate-Neutral Economy, we have prepared five scenarios for the transformation of the Polish economy. The strategy will include the most optimal scenario, depending on the technological choices and the goal we want to achieve: whether we want to move towards a new zero-emission economy or move towards a more realistic goal that could be handled by our economy.

 

Four out of the five scenarios assume investment in nuclear energy at some stage. Such investment pays off only after a very long time. Nuclear energy is currently the subject of debate between the ministries.

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