NAPE (National Energy Conservation Agency) was established in 1994 with an aim of popularizing efficient and rational energy usage, above all in the building sector, and the principles of sustainable development.
Can you briefly introduce NAPE and the agency’s presence in Poland?
Since establishment, our goal has been to promote energy efficiency in the Polish economy. As part of our objectives we have provided training programs to approximately 3000 professionals in the Polish market in order to support the idea of thermo modernization in the housing sector. Our activities have also included advisory in preparation of the supportive legislation in this matter. Last years we are expanding systematically from the housing sector to the industrial sector and other parts of the economy.
How big is the potential for energy efficiency in Poland?
According to Eurostat numbers, the average European economy is energy efficient by a factor of 100 kg of oil equivalent at € 1000 GDP. Poland is measured on a 200 scale, which means we have twice the distance to the average European economy.
Measuring energy efficiency on GDP is not the ideal scale because it incorporates many more factors such as the efficiency of economy itself.
If you have an efficient economy with a large margin on services (such as Ireland) you can use the same amount of energy, nevertheless, you are producing much more added value. The measurement is not comparable to a country whose economy is based on heavy industry with small margins.
In Poland, many companies are first investing money into expanding their businesses, then into developing new products, and only then into optimizing their operations. We are facing a situation where solutions provided by auditors, which have a seven year return on investment, might not be an attractive prospective to businesses.
Are there any sources of financing to help companies achieve energy efficiency?
Poland has a White Certificate Scheme which companies can benefit from. White Certificates are given to companies who plan to undertake measures aiming at achieving certain energy savings - they can use the certificate for their own target compliance or can sell it to other companies that are obliged to reach energy saving targets. There is currently a bigger demand for White Certificates than the market can supply, but the market is constantly developing.
The White Certificate Scheme was implemented in Poland in 2011, based on a previous version of the energy efficiency directive. Since 2012, the European Union (EU) released another directive which was introduced in Poland in 2016. Since then, we have a national energy efficiency act without any time limitations, and I expect that it will be expanded and intensified in the years to come.
What are the energy efficiency measures that NAPE would recommend companies to implement with priority?
Money is always an issue and thus I believe in implementing measures which are financially attractive. The first step is to achieve savings with minimal financial effort. Poland is currently developing great combinations of artificial intelligence and automation systems that can improve energy efficiency. Smart regulation systems can be very cheap whilst achieving great energy savings.
Do you already have a sense of how the COVID-19 outbreak will be impact your business/the energy sector in the short term?
I strongly believe that current crisis will affect mostly financial liquidity of such companies like ours, because we are trying hard to continue our activities by developing and adapting relevant IT solutions.
In the near future I expect that the need for cost optimization should increase, thus secure demand for the services like ours.
As for general energy market, I believe that currently using crisis opportunity promoters of two fundamental scenarios clash with each other. One when traditional, proven but not climate-friendly energy systems is presented to the decisionmakers as good solution from the energy security reasons. The second when crisis is presented as a good catalysator/opportunity for the energy sector transition, supported by intensification of IT solution in the energy sector. However, it is too early to prognose anything in this matter.
What first measures did you set in place to manage the crisis?
We have decided at very beginning of the epidemy in Poland to organize home-office for our staff, in order to minimize their risk of being infected. In most of consultancy companies the staff with their competences is the most precious asset to secure.
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