Sasin’s project does not convince the opposition. The NABE Act is unlikely to be debated again

Sasin's project does not convince the opposition.  The NABE Act is unlikely to be debated again

The idea of ​​​​creating an agency that would take over all coal-fired power plants will probably never come out of the drawer. Jacek Sasin’s idea to provide financing for the sector does not convince the Civic Coalition, which now has to develop solutions itself and convince miners to accept them.

Aware of the need to carry out far-reaching changes in the energy sector, the PiS government wanted to establish the National Energy Security Agency. The father of the project was Jacek Sasin, who proposed that NABE should take over all coal-fired power plants and lignite mines from energy companies. This would be a way to relieve the burden on energy companies and free up funds for the green transformation. It is difficult for companies to obtain financing because, due to various guidelines, financial institutions do not want to cooperate with companies producing “dirty” energy from coal.

NABE was supposed to give energy companies better “creditworthiness”, and thus make coal mines last longer – although their future is already certain.

At one point, establishing NABE was a fight against time – but when the bill was rejected by the Senate in September, there was no chance for the bill to enter into force in the current term. If the opposition parties take over the government, NABE will most likely go to waste.

What instead of NABE?

Business Insider asked Grzegorz Onichimowski, former president of the Polish Power Exchange, how he sees the future of the energy industry. He has extensive knowledge on this subject because he co-created the energy program of the Civic Platform.

In his opinion, a special place should be created for coal-fired power plants in the system, but not necessarily within the agency, but as a reserve that would remain at the disposal of the operator of the national transmission network – Polish Power Grids.

— We see the need to regulate the situation related to coal-fired power plants. Especially those that will lose support from the capacity market. We only have a year and a half to do this, because then some of the coal units will lose support and become unprofitable, if they are not already. We need to decide what to do with these assets, Onichimowski said.

He says that Jacek Sasin based the project on false assumptions. The project assumes that coal-fired power plants are to achieve positive cash flows at least until 2028 – and there is no certainty that this will be the case.

What does he propose to the Civic Coalition? — In our opinion, it is worth creating a system reserve in the form of coal-fired power plants that will lose support. This reserve would be managed by the operator of the national transmission network, which would previously indicate how many coal blocks it needs for stable operation of the system. Certainly, the vision of losing a large part of the controllable power is a problem and solving this problem will be one of the priorities of the new government – he said in an interview with “BI”.

Social contract with miners

Yesterday we wrote that miners did not feel that Mateusz Morawiecki’s government acted in their interest, so they voted for the Civic Coalition. Donald Tusk’s party won in most counties, which is paradoxical considering that eight years ago Tusk was probably the most hated man in Silesia. Now miners are waiting for specifics regarding the future of the mine and the implementation of the social contract, which concerns the transformation of the electricity sector and the lignite mining industry. Its conclusion was preceded by very long negotiations, but in December 2022, Jacek Sasin managed to finalize it.

The provisions of the contract are intended to secure employee rights during the transformation period.

– In a word, it gives sector employees confidence that the transformation, which is a complex process, will not take place at their expense. The agreement also mentions a system of social protection for employees of enterprises generating electricity and lignite mining enterprises – said Jacek Sasin almost a year ago.

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