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The PKEE & Energy Post debate: The role of solar in the Just Transition

Discussing the matters relating to what role solar energy can play in the Just Transition was the main objective of the debate organised by Energy Post in cooperation with the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE). The meeting, attended by the European Union officials and the representatives of energy sector associations took place on the 15th of December 2020.

During the high-level panel, its participants - Henning Häder, Policy Director at EURELECTRIC, Tom Burke, Chairman of the E3G, Paweł Olechnowicz, Programme Manager, DG REGIO European Commission and Michał Orłowski, Director of Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments at TAURON S.A. – a Member of the PKEE, discussed the complexities of the just transition and broadened their understanding of what the energy transition looks like in Poland and in similar countries in the region. Moreover, the debate focused on how the energy sector can make a better use of PV technologies.

Michał Orłowski, Director of Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments at TAURON S.A., has stressed that solar energy’s role in transition towards achievement of climate objectives is emerging. - I believe that solar energy should be considered by the energy industry as well as by policymakers as one of the most inclusive solutions for the EU to bring the benefits of clean energy to all - he clarified. - The advantages of developing the solar energy sector have been also noticed by the Polish electricity sector. Extensive investments in these facilities make it the fastest growing renewable sector in our country - he added.

The Director of Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments at TAURON S.A. noted that European and national climate targets are highly ambitious. - To make them happen, a comprehensive, clear and predictable framework for the development of solar energy needs to be provided - he explained. - Simplified administrative procedures, such as accelerated permitting process, can bolster the construction of new installations and allow the Member States to reap all the benefits of solar energy in the energy transformation - he said.

Director Orłowski has also pointed out that TAURON is already actively engaged in the projects reclaiming the post-mining and post-industrial areas by building PV installations. - It shows that such projects can successfully support coal-reliant regions in their transition and can ensure the social acceptance of the transition in the regions concerned. However, it should be borne in mind that the success of these projects depends on gaining public support. In our view, the EU funds should be a comprehensive measure, including the support for social initiatives and investments in the energy sector. The economy and social issues cannot be analysed separately - he concluded.