Polish coal giant PGE unveils greater wind ambitions

PGE plans to boost its onshore and offshore wind portfolio as it aims to reach climate-neutrality by 2050

PGE has stakes in 691MW of operational onshore wind capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence
PGE has stakes in 691MW of operational onshore wind capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence

Polish coal giant Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) plans to develop a further 2GW of offshore wind capacity and 1GW of onshore wind capacity as part of its plans to reach climate-neutrality by 2050.

PGE aims to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century, and sell energy only from renewable sources, it stated.

Coal – whether hard coal or lignite – currently accounts for 80% of its energy portfolio.

To meet its 2050 targets, PGE plans to invest in only low- and zero-carbon energy sources and network infrastructure.

It aims to have helped to install 2.5GW of new offshore capacity by 2030, and reach 6.5GW of gross capacity by 2040. The utility is currently helping to develop just over 4.1GW in the Polish Baltic Sea, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

The company also aims to boost its onshore wind portfolio by at least 1GW by 2030. It currently has stakes in 691MW of operational onshore wind capacity – all of which is in Poland – according to Windpower Intelligence.

PGE also plans to add 3GW of solar PV capacity 800MW of energy storage capacity by 2030, according to a blueprint unveiled today (19 October).

The company added that it would invest in new renewable energy projects but also look to acquire others.

It will also invest in gas units to balance the system and enable the decarbonisation of the heating sector, PGE explained, as well as in transmission lines, transformers, digital connectivity, energy storage and modern metering. However, it aims to stop using natural gas for energy production by 2042.

Most of its PLN 75 billion (€16.5 billion) investments between 2021 and 2030 will be in renewables sources, followed by regulatory activity, low-emission sources and others.

PGE expects its move to renewable energy to be profitable.

By 2030, it expects renewable sources will provide more than 25% of profits, and to make operational savings of at least PLN 400 million (PLN 88 million) by 2025 and PLN 800 million by 2030 as a result of these activities.

PGE president Wojciech Dabrowski said: “Our customers expect energy produced in an environmentally friendly manner. 

“That is why we will implement an ambitious program of building offshore and onshore wind farms and photovoltaics.”

Questions remain about how PGE will enact its energy transition, however – especially about what it will do with retiring coal plants.

Electricity analyst at Ember, Dave Jones, said: “The big question left unanswered is, ‘What will happen to the unprofitable coal plants?’ PGE must take responsibility and agree a phase-out programme.”

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