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PGE head: investments in renewable energy are inevitable

Investments in renewable energy sources are needed by Polish companies to stay on the market and have a chance for development – says the president of Polish Energy Group (PGE), Wojciech Dąbrowski. He added that the Group is prepared for transformation.

“From the very beginning, we saw the need to set new, long-term goals for PGE. The adopted strategy until 2030 with a perspective until 2050 meets the radical changes in the market, regulatory and social environment,” Dąbrowski told PAP.

We have an offshore agreement with Orsted, the first modular electricity storage in Poland in Rzepedź, 140 MW of new capacity in onshore wind farms were added during the year and we have a ready conversion plan for heat engineering of approx. 1000 MW – he mentioned.

He emphasized that rating agencies maintained good ratings for the company, and thanks to savings and optimisation measures and the elimination of projects that did not guarantee profits in the future, it was possible to reduce the Group’s debt by over PLN 2 billion (~440 MLN EUR). Thanks to this, the company can accumulate cash for new investments. “The investment challenges are enormous, we plan to spend PLN 75 billion (~16.25 BLN EUR) on investments by 2030. First of all, in the field of renewable energy, in the heating sector, to switch from coal to gas and to distribution,” the president noted.

In the opinion of Wojciech Dąbrowski, investments in renewable energy are inevitable, but must have support from stable conventional generation sources until the construction of nuclear power plants. This can be provided by a strategic carbon reserve.

“Today we keep asking ourselves whether Polish energy companies will continue to function after 2049. For this to happen, huge investments in renewable energy are needed. We cannot afford a situation in which we do not build our own renewable energy sources and will be forced to import energy. This may mean making our economy dependent on external energy and the liquidation of Polish energy companies,” Dąbrowski emphasized. He added that his task as the head of such a company is to prevent such a scenario.

Referring to potential acquisitions of heating assets, Dąbrowski emphasized that PGE wants to gain new markets, expand its operations and strengthen its leading position in the heating sector. “We are still interested in ČEZ’s assets in Poland, even though they are coal-fired CHP plants, because most of PGE’s CHP plants still run on coal. But the process of switching to gas has already started,” he stressed. He recalled that PGE already has a number of gas network connection agreements with Gaz-System and Polska Spółka Gazownictwa (Polish Gas Company).

Dąbrowski also assessed that the end of 2021 is still a realistic date for the allocation of coal assets to another entity, which would also be beneficial from the technical and accounting side. He emphasized that the host of the entire process is the Ministry of State Assets, which is currently in dialogue with the social side.

At the same time, he stressed that all carbon sources should be separated at the same time. There are many harmful opinions and simplifications around the new coal concentrating entity that are misleading. “Among the units that will be separated there are a number of still new, effective assets, such as new units in Opole, which will operate for at least 25 years” reiterated the president of PGE. “The new entity must have appropriate sources of income. In this way, the trial will be fair, because this must be the whole transformation” – he added.

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