What is the future of the EU’s energy sector?

Discussing the matters relating to challenges and costs related to the energy transformation was the main objective of the debate organised by Euractiv in cooperation with the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE). The event, attended by the European Union officials and the representatives of energy sector associations, took place on the 25th of October 2022. 25 October 2022 in Brussels.

Opening the meeting, Wojciech Dąbrowski, President of the Management Board of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. and of the PKEE Governing Board, stressed that we are currently at a turning point for the European energy sector. Both Poland and other countries in our region were the first to warn of the threat posed by dependence on energy resources from Russia. President Dabrowski also mentioned that, although we now have to deal with new, extraordinary circumstances, the main directions of the transition are still the same. Europe will continue on its path towards climate neutrality and Poland will actively participate in it, despite the challenges involved. "The scale of the transformation of the Polish energy sector is much higher and, as a result, more costly than in other EU countries. This is due to very specific historical circumstances and the legacy of a high share of coal in the energy mix. This is why we so often appeal to EU stakeholders to take into account the different starting points and recognise the individual pace of transformation of each Member State." - he noted.

Jakub Koszyczarek from EY Poland made a presentation of the main conclusions of the "The Polish Energy Transition Path” Report. EY expert gave a summary of what has already been achieved by Poland, from the perspective for 2030, and 2050 and analysed opportunities and threats that Polish energy sector will be facing.

During the high-level panel, its participants - Tsvetelina Penkova MEP, Member of the European Parliament's ITRE Committee; Paweł Cioch, Vice President of PGE Corporate Affairs and Member of the Governing Board of PKEE; Albéric Mongrenier, Director of Energy, Mobility and Sustainability at the European regulatory think-tank CERRE; and Irina Kustova, Research Fellow in Energy, Resources and Climate Change at the European policy think-tank CEPS , discussed how to ensure the achievement of the 2030 and 2050 targets in the light of recent geopolitical developments. energy, resources and climate change researcher at the European policy think-tank CEPS , discussed how to ensure that the 2030 and 2050 targets are met in light of recent geopolitical developments, what approaches individual Member States are taking to achieve climate neutrality, and how to counter the deepening of energy poverty.

MEP Tsvetelina Penkova, in her speech, indicated that we are looking at three priorities at the moment: security of supply, affordability of the prices for consumers, and energy independence which will be achieved through faster deployment of renewable energy sources. "To guarantee the security of supply, the stability, to guarantee that we have baseload power in Europe we should not be ignoring the possibility of further exploring the domestic production on the European continent." - she pointed out.

Vice-President Paweł Cioch, has stressed that key actions towards climate neutrality in Polish energy sector are investments in low-carbon and zero-emission energy sources including capital-intensive offshore wind farms and nuclear energy. "This process requires the development of transmission and distribution infrastructure together with electricity storage capacities. The energy transition needs the implementation of technologies that have not yet fully reached a commercial status, which is why intensive research and development should be conducted to effectively use them. The need to use innovative but immature technologies involves unique challenges which need to be effectively addressed to minimise the barriers of market entry for those technologies." - he explained.

According to Vice-President Cioch, the exceptional situation in energy markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine requires Europe to revise its energy transition plans. "We need to be better prepared to meet new challenges while building energy security for the entire EU, speed up RES development in the most suitable areas but we cannot forget about security of supply." - he added.

Following the discussion, Albéric Mongrenier, Director of CERRE said that the fact that we got caught largely unprepared by this shock, even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started, means that we need to put more thinking into scenario planning.

In the opinion of Irina Kustova, Research Fellow in CEPS, all restructuring industries will lead to transformations in employment, the workforce will have to adapt and here we will have various labour market responses. One highlight is that mobility will increase across sector jobs. "It’s important to see how to couple social protection and the green transition and what actually social protection will look like, in a decade, in two decades and by 2050." - she stressed.

Commenting on this statement, Vice-President Cioch explained that social acceptance is undoubtedly a pillar of the just energy transition.

Event page: https://events.euractiv.com/event/info/what-is-the-future-of-the-eus-energy-sector

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF_GNc0c6-8

The report "Poland's energy transition path: https://pkee.pl/en/publications/raport-ey-i-pkee-polska-sciezka-transformacji-energetycznej/