Industry foots decarbonisation bill, CCUS investment required: conference

The steel industry is likely to pick up a substantial portion of the massive bill needed for decarbonisation, while carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) must be used to bridge the energy gap for the time being. So said participants at this week’s European Steel Congress in Katowice.

European industry is competing with firms in other regions that have different capital sources and financing conditions, as well as adhere to different regulations, EY CESA power & utilities leader Jarosław Wajer pointed out at the event attended by Kallanish. “If we look at what happens during crises, governments always side with the final consumer, meaning investors get hit,” he observed.

The costs of decarbonisation will need to be borne either way. Poland is “the China of Europe” as it exports many components to other European countries, and consumers will increasingly demand that their supply chains are green, Wajer added.

Artur Beck from the Togetair climate summit asserted that in order to be competitive, Poland “needs to fight for EU funds, we need to fight for green hydrogen, do everything we can to invest in technology.” Competition with China is one thing, but the playing field within the EU itself is also uneven, when one considers that France has such a large share of nuclear in its energy mix, he added.

Swietokrzyska Grupa Przemyslowa Industria SMR director Slawomir Malara meanwhile said his company’s small modular reactor should be online by 2034. SMRs will play a big role in Poland’s energy mix in future, but “I don’t see any SMR projects starting before 2030”, he added.

Polish state assets deputy minister Marek Wesoly said Polish policy has moved away from using natural gas as a transition fuel, since the break in cooperation with Russia has shown the difficulties of sourcing this from outside Europe.

The state still plans to move away from fossil fuels to hydrogen but not to the detriment of energy security. “Whether we like it or not … today coal is the basis of energy security in Poland. This will be the case until we have a reliable, stable source of renewable energy,” Wesoly commented.

Dominik Kolorz of trade union ZR NSZZ “Solidarnosc” said CCUS is not talked about enough. While three years ago it was considered uneconomic, CO2 emission allowances touched €100/tonne ($107) this year, making it the right time for industry to invest in CCUS. This can be financed by EU as well as Polish state funds. “I support green energy but let’s bear in mind that over the next two decades this will be the most expensive energy source,” he added.

Adam Smith Poland