Poland is planning to generate 12 percent of its electricity from nuclear by 2030 with its first reactor in commercial operation in 2024, a conference has heard.
Beata Sparazynska, senior expert at the nuclear energy department of Poland’s Ministry of Economy, told the European Nuclear Congress in Marseille, France, that “one of the key objectives” of Polish energy policy is new nuclear.
She said the tender process for a reactor technology could be launched by the end of 2014 and the tender will cover “all key aspects” of the project including the provision of financing, fuel supply and provision of a general contractor.
One of the potential problems includes possible financing models, which will be determined after the European Commission issues its final decision on the Hinkley Point C new build project in the UK, Ms Sparazynska said.
She said Poland could use long-term contracts supported by the government, similar to the contracts for difference (CfDs) being proposed by the UK government for Hinkley Point C. The EC is investigating whether CfDs, which guarantee a price for the electricity produced by a nuclear plant, are contrary to state aid rules.
Ms Sparazynska said price projections show that electricity generated from nuclear will cost about 64 euros per megawatt-hour in 2025, making it the cheapest source of electricity in the country. Offshore wind is likely to cost around 108 euros per MW/h.
She said Poland needs nuclear because 62 percent of its existing power plants are more than 30 years old and “rapidly approaching the end of their operational limits”. Nuclear is also needed for climate goals, energy security, diversification of energy sources and to stop increases in energy prices, she said.
She said Poland’s energy sector is highly susceptible to the European Union’s climate policies and the country’s environmental and climate goals will benefit from nuclear power.
The introduction of six gigawatts of nuclear by 2030 will lead to a reduction of 36 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. This will result in a 24 percent reduction in emissions from the Polish electricity sector.
She said Poland’s overreliance on hard coal and lignite will lead to the country becoming a net importer of both resources in the coming years, which will lead to an increase in electricity prices.
The next steps in Poland’s nuclear energy programme depend on the government issuing a decision-in-principle.