WARSAW – Poland will remain reliant on coal for power generation for now but in future should consider turning to nuclear energy and renewable sources, the new prime minister said on Tuesday in his first policy speech.
Mateusz Morawiecki, a Western-educated former banker fluent in German and English, was sworn in on Monday, replacing Beata Szydlo, a coalminer’s daughter, who had promised to keep mining jobs when the industry struggled to survive in 2015.
Morawiecki’s did not signal a major departure for now from the pro-coal policies of his ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), but his comments did suggest the government could give a push to a much-delayed plan to build Poland’s first nuclear power plant.
“Today coal is the basis of our energy industry and we cannot and do not want to give it up,” Morawiecki said.
“For our future generations, I would also like alternative energy sources to develop freely in Poland. Our task is to guarantee Poland the energy independence at low carbon emissions and this is why we look favorably at nuclear energy,” he said.
He also said the nation should consider renewable power sources.
A project to build a nuclear power plant was announced in 2009, but has been hit by several delays, with financing posing one of the main obstacles.
Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski has been pushing to build the nuclear plant but needs cabinet approval for a renewed push. Morawiecki may have given those plans a boost.
PiS has long championed Poland’s use of coal, a fuel that is falling out of favor in a global push to cut greenhouse gases.
But global pressures to shift away from coal and Poland’s shrinking deposits are encouraging the country to consider its future plans for power generation, analysts say.