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Poland Electricity Security Policy

Part of Electricity Security Policy

Poland's electricity sector will undergo substantial changes in the coming years, primarily resulting from its planned transformation to a low-emission model. Poland’s energy policy aims to decarbonise its electricity supply and increase electrification, while maintaining electricity security and affordability for consumers. The number of prosumers – those who both consume and produce power - is expected to increase rapidly to 1 million in 2025. Already, the Polish grid has difficulty accommodating rising shares of renewable power and has to resort to significant curtailment of renewable generation.

At the national level, the general framework for electricity security and the measures to be deployed during a crisis are provided by the Energy Law, which gives the transmission system operator the leading role in tackling electricity supply emergencies.


The transmission system operator (TSO) (Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne, PSE) is responsible for ensuring security of electricity supply and real time system balancing. In case of supply disruptions, the TSO shall apply measures for system harmonising and congestion management, referred to as Emergency Procedures. Every year the TSO publishes a 5-year adequacy assessment, taking into account expected market developments and possible supply shortages. 

To ensure adequate supply, the TSO arranges control services for centrally dispatched generation units. It is responsible for contracting the required output of distributed generators and hydro units, as well as for cold (non-operating) reserves if needed for system balancing during a crisis. In 2018, Poland established a capacity market mechanism to address concerns over the adequacy of generation capacity.

Poland’s electricity generation is dominated by coal, although its share in total generation has declined in the past decade, which is expected to continue to decline.


Poland electricity infrastructure consists of a large generation fleet, an extensive transmission and distribution network, and interconnections that integrate Poland into the European electricity system.

Ownership and operation of Poland’s electricity infrastructure (generation, transmission and distribution) is highly concentrated within a few companies that are owned or controlled by the state treasury. The Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) is responsible for oversight of electricity infrastructure operations, including issuing licences to generators and concessions to system operators, and approving grid tariffs. The ERO also advises the government during the approval process for development plans of the TSO and the five largest distribution system operators (DSOs).

Networks: transmission and distribution

In 2020, Poland’s transmission and distribution system supplied around 132.7 TWh to over 18 million consumers. The largest share of consumers (over 99%) are connected to the distribution grid, however around 58% of supplied electricity went to large consumers connected to the transmission system.

In 2020, the Polish electricity transmission network consisted of 15 316 km of lines (1 line running to Ukraine of 114 km at 750 kV, 7 822 km at 400 kV and 7 380 km at 220 kV) and 109 extra-high voltage substations with a capacity of 62 400 megavolt-amperes as well as a 450 kV DC submarine connecting Poland and Sweden of a total length of 254 km (of which 127 km belongs to PSE S.A.). Poland’s TSO is PSE, which is 100% owned by the state treasury. 

Poland is planning large investments in electricity infrastructure including up to 6 GW of new gas-fired generation, up to 16 GW of new renewable generation (mainly wind and solar PV) and a major expansion of the transmission and distribution systems to integrate new generation and support higher electrification of demand. The most recent development plans of the TSO and the five largest DSOs (approved in June 2020) include a total of around EUR 11 billion of investments through 2025. The Energy Policy of Poland until 2040 (EPP2040) estimates that investments in the electricity network will total EUR 21 billion from 2021 to 2030 and EUR 19 billion from 2031 to 2040.

Interconnections

In 2020, Poland’s maximum technical interconnection capacity was 11.8 GW. The system includes interconnections to Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine with ten high voltage alternating current lines. The interconnections to Sweden and Lithuania are with DC lines. The total interconnection capacity is projected to increase only slightly by 2030 to 12.05 GW. The main planned interconnection is a DC undersea cable to connect with Lithuania.

Poland’s National Energy and Climate Plan set interconnection targets of 4% in 2020 and 8.7% in 2030, well below the EU targets of 10% and 15% respectively. The EU recast Electricity Regulation (2019/943) requires all TSOs to make a minimum of 70% of cross-border capacity available to market participants by the end of 2025.Poland received an exemption and the TSO is working to ensure that the 70% target will be achieved.

Electricity net trade in Poland, 2000 2019

Openexpand

Storage

Poland has a small capacity of energy storage that consist mainly of pumped hydro (1.7 GW and 7.6 GWh in 2020), that is used by the TSO mainly for system balancing. There is limited deployment of battery storage in Poland with total battery storage capacity reaching around 9 MW and 33 MWh in 2020. These battery storage systems are connected to the distribution system and used by DSOs mainly to stabilise the voltage. A battery project is currently in progress with capacity of 1 MW and 2 MWh being built by one of the DSOs.

Poland is aiming to increase energy storage capacity to support integration of variable generation and increase system flexibility. The state-owned power company PGE aims to build 0.8 GW of energy storage by 2030. The EPP2040 sets a goal for around 1.0 GW of energy storage (excluding pumped storage) by 2040. Poland plans to introduce auctions for hybrid projects that combine renewable energy technologies with storage. A pilot auction will be run in 2022 that aims to support deployment of 15 MW of projects larger than 1 MW and 5 MW of projects of 1 MW or less.

Poland has adjusted energy sector regulations to support energy storage. In May 2021, Poland amended the Energy Law to establish a clear licensing process and regulatory status for battery storage and eliminate double tariffs for charging and discharging batteries. Under the new regulations, battery systems of over 50 kW need to register with the relevant system operator, while systems of over 10 MW require licensing. Battery systems are now given a 50% discount on grid connection fees and are eligible to participate in renewable energy support schemes. The amendment also clarified the status of pumped hydro storage and created mechanism for regulation of other energy storage technologies. The amendment also allows DSOs to include electricity storage in their investment plans and to recover the cost of electricity storage through tariffs if the investment is justified to ensure supply of electricity, including cost-benefit analysis to show that energy storage is the most economically viable option available.  

Poland’s electricity transmission system, 2022

Map Of Polands Electricity Infrastructure

Organisation

Poland’s security of electricity supply is regulated by the Energy Law, which defines the procedures for dealing with electricity supply disruptions. The law gives the responsibility for maintaining security of supply to Poland’s TSO and empowers the TSO (in co-operation with DSOs) to take a range of measures to prevent, respond to and recover from any supply disruptions. The law also requires electricity generators to take certain action to ensure electricity security. Poland relies first on market-based instruments to address supply disruptions. However, in the event of a threat to security of electricity supply, the TSO (in co-ordination with DSOs) may introduce limitations on electricity generation or demand (load shedding) for up to 72 hours. A longer duration of restrictions requires authorisation from the Council of Ministers. The Energy Law defines an order of load shedding, with priority placed on maintaining supply to protected consumers (households, entities providing social services such as clinics, hospitals and schools, and small and medium-sized companies).

Every year, the TSO assesses the adequacy of emergency response measures and defines which electricity supply and demand restrictions it plans to use in case of an emergency during the following year. The ERO is responsible for reviewing and approving these measures. Under the current scheme, restrictions consist of limiting peak electricity demand and daily electricity demand of consumers, with contracted capacity higher than 300 kW.

Poland has its electricity crisis management policies in line with national and EU-level obligations. The Ministry of Climate and Environment is working on the implementation of the EU Risk Preparedness Regulation for the electricity sector (EU Regulation 2019/941). This regulation imposes on each Member State the obligation to designate a "competent authority" (CA), which is responsible for performing the tasks specified therein and for co-operation with CAs of other Member States. The Polish CA is the Ministry of Climate and Environment.

The Risk Preparedness Regulation provides a framework for EU Member States to establish risk preparedness plans, enhancing rules for co-operation between Member States in order to prevent, prepare for and manage electricity crises. The Regulation defines ‘electricity crisis’ as a present or imminent situation in which there is a significant electricity shortage, as determined by the Member States and described in their risk preparedness plans, or in which it is impossible to supply electricity to customers. Accordingly, at national level, the Risk Preparedness Plan of Poland, which is being prepared, will offer a framework for existing contingency procedures and measures and will serve as a starting point for further actions concerning the prevention, the preparation for, and the mitigation of electricity crises.

When faced with a crisis situation, the Minister of Climate and Environment has the possibility to convene its Crisis Management Team. When an electricity crisis is part of a larger energy crisis beyond the competence of the Minister, the National Security Centre takes the lead in information gathering, analysis and distribution, leaving the Minister with management of the electricity part of the emergency.

While the overall management, including the communication between stakeholders and society is managed by the Minister, technical measures to prevent or respond to a crisis situation, lay with the TSO.

Generation adequacy

Every year, the TSO assesses the adequacy of emergency response measures and defines which electricity supply and demand restrictions it plans to use in case of an emergency during the following year. The ERO is responsible for reviewing and approving these measures. Under the current scheme, restrictions consist of limiting peak electricity demand and daily electricity demand of consumers, with contracted capacity higher than 300 kW.

To ensure adequacy of supply, the TSO arranges control services for centrally dispatched generation units, contracts must-run services with non-centrally dispatched generators and hydro units of a total of 1.7 GW, and 0.8 GW of cold (non-spinning) reserves. Bilateral agreements with TSOs in neighbouring countries provide an additional 0.3 GW of capacity to ensure generation adequacy.

Demand side response

Poland has several programmes that allow for co-ordinated Demand Side Response measures (DSR) for addressing emergency situations. As of 2018, the TSO purchases DSR services under three programmes: Guaranteed Programme, Ongoing Programme and Simplified Ongoing Programme. All DSR programmes provide opportunities for customers to participate in the system balancing process through the reduction of active loador the ability to time-shift the consumption of electricity. In the Guaranteed Programme, the potential of the demand side totals at about 500 MW. Customers with controlled off-takes also have the opportunity to participate directly in the commercial balancing mechanism and to submit balancing offers in the balancing market.

Prior to 2021, DSR was used only as an intervention mechanism to address critical generation reserve deficits. In 2020, around 700 MW of DSR capacity was available for this purpose. In 2021, this program was replaced by DSR participation in a capacity mechanism that was specifically designed to allow long start time coal-fired generation to come on line. DSR capacity supporting this mechanism is 570 MW in 2021 and has increased to 950 MW in 2022. Only commercial and industrial customers participate in the program; over 98% of the capacity is contracted by aggregators. More than 200 companies offer reduction of demand, or generation from backup generators or increased industrial cogeneration. The TSO may send an order to reduce the demand on the capacity market only if the reserves drop below 9% with at least 8h notice time. There is no remuneration for reducing the demand, and the power supplier cannot sell the saved megawatts on the energy market.

Climate resilience

In terms of resilience to climate change, Poland has developed a new National Standard Conditions (NNA) for Poland. The national conditions introduced stricter requirements as to the strength of the poles, which translated into greater resistance to weather conditions. The influence of atmospheric phenomena on the power grid is definitely lower for (underground) cable lines, therefore, especially for medium voltage (MV) lines, DSOs in Poland have decided that new lines will be built primarily as cable lines. The top five DSOs and the TSO signed an agreement on co-operation in the removal of power grid failures at the Ministry of Energy in August 2018. The agreement contains a declaration of mutual co-operation and assistance of the DSOs and TSO in removing the effects of power grid failures on overhead and cable lines and in the reconstruction of the power system. The aim is to accelerate the restoration of electricity supplies to customers affected by breakdowns, in particular those caused by extreme weather events. In the event of a power grid failure in their area, the DSOs and TSO will be able to ask other signatories of the agreement for the delegation of qualified, authorised employees along with specialised equipment, tools and materials to support work related to the reconstruction of the power system, restoration of power supply and transformation at stations and supply of electricity to customers. The operators also declared to regularly exchange information on the stock levels of basic materials.

Cybersecurity

Poland attaches great importance on threats such as cyber-attacks, physical attacks to electricity infrastructure and electricity supply shortages, and Poland has addressed these challenges in order to minimise their possibility as much as possible. The government of Poland prepares a manual to handle these issues and inform the public accordingly if the necessity arises.

In case of (threat of) occurrence of an electricity crisis caused by a cybersecurity incident, the entity where the incident occurred classifies its seriousness on the basis of thresholds, reports the serious incident immediately, but not later than within 24 hours of its detection, to the relevant Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). The role of relevant CSIRTs is to classify reported serious incidents as critical (if these incidents result in significant damage to security or public order, international interests, economic interests, operation of public institutions, civil rights and freedoms or human life and health), and to coordinate handling of critical incidents. The relevant national level CSIRTs shall provide each other with information on a critical incident, together with other required information, and shall communicate the information to the National Security Centre. This information shall also include a recommendation to convene a Government Crisis Management Team and may include a request to convene a Critical Incident Team.

In addition, the procedures contained in the Crisis Management Plan of the entity where the incident occurred shall be followed, and the procedures contained in the National Crisis Management Plan shall be activated, in particular the one concerning the convening and handling of the meeting of the Critical Incident Team.