Report 2020

Poland on the way to SDGs
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Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Access to electricity worldwide

There is still no universal access to electricity in the world. Over 10% of the global population are not joined to the electricity network (in 2005, it was nearly 20%). This problem concerns 21% of the inhabitants of rural areas and 3% of the inhabitants of urban areas. Europe is the only fully electrified region. Africa, on the contrary, remains the least electrified, especially its sub-Saharan part, where over half of the population are deprived of electricity. More specifically, it is a problem afflicting over 78% of inhabitants of sub-Saharan rural areas and above 21% of the sub-Saharan population in the urban areas. In Oceania (except for Australia and New Zealand), 36% of the population have no access to electricity, this percentage comprising 11% of inhabitants of urban areas and 44% of rural areas dwellers.

Energy from renewable sources

Over 75% of the global production of energy is based on fossil fuels, which affects the natural environment. The electricity sector is the largest contributor to the global production of CO2 (responsible for 40% of all CO2 emissions). At the same time, this sector uses comparatively more energy from renewable sources (neutral for the climate) than, for example, transport or heating and cooling; the use of energy from renewable sources in the electricity sector has grown from 20% at the beginning of the decade to 25%. At present, over 17% of all the energy used by the global economy comes from renewable sources, which is slightly more than in 2005 (16%). In particular, more solar and wind- and water-generated energy is consumed now (10% compared to 9% in 2010), while the use of solid biofuels (such as firewood and charcoal) has fallen from 8% to 7%.
The extent to which regions use energy from renewable sources varies across the globe, and it has increased in most of them (except for Asia and Africa) since 2005. The region where renewable energy is used to the largest degree is Africa, especially its underdeveloped sub-Saharan part, where almost 70% of energy is generated through renewable sources. As regards the remaining regions of the world, in Europe and Oceania approximately 13% of energy comes from renewable sources, and in the two Americas together and in Asia about 16%. However, regions themselves are internally varied when it comes to renewable energy consumption. For example in Europe, in contrast to several other regions, the comparatively less affluent countries use energy from renewable sources to a much smaller extent than the relatively wealthy ones: only 6% of the total energy produced in Eastern Europe comes from these sources, whereas in Northern Europe, it is 27%.

Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption (%)

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2005 2017
WORLD 16 17
AFRICA 57 54
Northern Africa 14 10
Sub-Saharan Africa 70 69
AMERICAS 12 16
Latin America and the Carribean 28 29
Northern America 8 12
ASIA 20 16
South-Eastern Asia 34 29
Southern Asia 39 28
Central Asia 4 3
Eastern Asia 14 12
Western Asia 5 4
EUROPE 8 13
Southern Europe 9 17
Northern Europe 16 27
Eastern Europe 5 6
Western Europe 8 15
OCEANIA 12 14

Electrical energy in Poland

Electricity produced in the EU comes mostly from renewable sources of energy, nuclear heat and gas and solid fuels. Countries choose their main energy carriers individually, for example, Austria and Croatia generate most of their electricity from renewable sources, France uses mostly nuclear energy, Malta’s source of electricity is primarily gas, whereas Estonia and Cyprus generate electricity mainly from oils. Poland is the only EU country which produces electricity predominantly from solid fossil fuels (hard coal and lignite).
However, the share of solid fossil fuels in Poland’s energy mix has decreased since the beginning of the decade (from 87% in 2010 to 77%), particularly that of hard coal (from 56% to 48%), whereas the use of lignite has decreased only slightly (from 31% to 29%). In the same period, the use of energy from renewable sources has increased: in 2010, 7% of electricity produced in Poland came from renewable sources, while at present it is 13%. More specifically, Poland uses mostly wind energy (8%), and biomass and biogas to a smaller degree (4%). The average use of renewable energy to produce electricity in the EU, at 32%, is higher than in Poland, and it forms a different energy mix: 12% of electricity is produced from wind, 11% from water, and 6% through the utilization of biomass and biogas. In Poland, solar energy accounts for only 0.2% of the electricity production, which is much less than in the EU, where electricity produced through photovoltaic cells currently reaches an average of nearly 4%.

Electricity production by energy carriers (%)

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2010 2018
PL solid fossil fuels 86.6 76.8
gas fuels 3.0 7.4
pumped storage 0.4 0.2
RES 6.9 12.7
nuclear heat 0.0 0.0
oils 1.8 1.1
other fuels 1.2 1.7
EU solid fossil fuels 24.1 18.7
gas fuels 22.8 19.0
pumped storage 0.9 0.9
RES 20.2 32.1
nuclear heat 27.3 25.3
oils 2.9 2.0
other fuels 1.9 2.0

Use of renewable energy

As regards the Polish economy, renewable sources of energy are currently used to a slightly larger degree than at the beginning of the decade. Their share in gross final energy consumption has increased from 9% in 2010 to 11% (in the EU, it has grown from 13% to 18% in the same period). In both cases, it is still less than the target level established by EU regulations1, which assume that by 2020, the share of renewable energy in the total energy consumption would grow to 15% in the case of Poland, and to 20% in the case of the EU. In Poland, energy from renewable sources has for years been used mostly by the heating and cooling sector (in the EU mostly by the electricity sector). Almost 15% of this sector’s energy consumption comes from renewable sources (slightly more than at the beginning of the decade). The Polish electricity sector has reached a similar level (growth from 8% in 2010 to 13%). On the other hand, the sector which uses renewable energy to the smallest extent is transport, whose use of this kind of energy has decreased from almost 7% in 2010 to less than 6% (while in the EU it has grown from 5% to 8%). Meanwhile, the EU directive recommends that by 2020, all member states generate at least 10% of energy used by their transport sectors from renewable sources.

Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption by sector (%)

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2010 2018
PL TOTAL 9.3 11.3
transport 6.6 5.7
electricity 6.6 13.0
heating and cooling 11.7 14.8
EU TOTAL 13.2 18.0
transport 5.2 8.0
electricity 19.7 32.1
heating and cooling 15.5 19.7

1 Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. In 2018, the new Directive 2018/2001/EU increased the minimum level of the consumption of energy from renewable sources in final energy consumption to 32% by 2030, this including the increase in the percentage of renewable energy in final energy consumption by the transport sector to 14%.

Energy efficiency

The Polish economy still uses energy less efficiently than the average EU country, yet more efficiently than at the beginning of the decade. An energy unit expressed in kgoe enables Poland to generate domestic product worth almost 8 PPS2 (6 PPS in 2010), while the EU average is 9 PPS (compared to 7 PPS in 2010).

Energy productivity (%)

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2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
PL 6.0 6.4 6.8 6.9 7.4 7.6 7.4 7.4 7.7
EU 7.0 7.4 7.6 7.8 8.3 8.4 8.6 8.8 9.1

The Polish economy uses almost 70 million toe of energy a year, the largest part of which (32%) is consumed by transport, followed by the households sector (28%), industry (23%), commercial and public services (11%) and others (6%). This structure of energy consumption resembles that of the average EU energy consumption. Since 2010, the annual consumption of energy by the Polish economy has increased by 8% (while in the EU, it has fallen by 4%), this figure including the growth of energy consumption in transport (by 30%) and in industry (by 21%). On the other hand, the amount of energy used by the services and household sectors has fallen in Poland since 2010 (by 10% and 12%, respectively). In the EU, the average energy consumption has decreased in the same period in the majority of sectors of the economy except for transport.

Final energy consumption by sector (%)

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2010 2018
PL industry 20.7 23.4
transport 26.3 32.0
households 33.7 27.6
services 13.5 11.4
other 6.0 6.0
EU industry 24.4 24.8
transport 29.1 31.0
households 29.4 26.7
services 14.2 14.3
other 3.0 3.0

2 Purchasing power standard (PPS) is a virtual currency adopted by the EU for the purpose of international comparisons, thanks to which it is possible to eliminate price differences between countries.

Energy consumption in households

Polish households, like the average EU household, consume the largest amounts of energy on heating interiors (65%). 16% of energy is used for heating water, and 10% for lightning and electric devices. Approximately 8% of energy consumed by Polish households is used for cooking.
Subjective assessment of inhabitants of Poland indicates that their current demand for energy is satisfied to a greater extent than at the beginning of the decade. In particular, the percentage of households reporting that they were unable to sufficiently heat their homes has fallen down significantly (from 15% in 2010 to 4%). This improvement involved a considerable upgrade of the condition of households with the lowest income (below 60% of median equivalised income); now, 12% of them report lacking sufficient resources for heating their homes, compared to 31% in 2010.
The scale of energy poverty has shrunk in all types of households as classified according to their structure. The most significant improvement in this respect has been observed in large households (consisting of two adults and several children), among whom the percentage of households reporting insufficient resources for satisfying their heating needs has fallen from 16% in 2010 to 3% at present, and in households consisting of two persons of whom at least one was elderly (fall from 17% to 5%). Despite a considerable betterment, the scale of unsatisfied heating needs of households consisting of one person or single-parent households is still much larger than the average (11% compared to 24% in 2010 and 9% compared to 25%, respectively).

Population unable to keep home adequately warm (%)

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2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
PL 14.8 13.6 13.2 11.4 9.0 7.5 7.1 6.0 5.1 4.2
EU 9.5 9.8 10.8 10.7 10.3 9.4 8.7 7.8 7.3 .

Raport 2020
Poland on the way to SDGs
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