By PATRYK WASILEWSKI
WARSAW -- Poland on Tuesday postponed the completion
deadline for the country's first liquefied natural
gas terminal by six months, dealing a setback to the
country's energy-diversification efforts, as the prime minister
pledged support for the coal industry.
The terminal, now due for completion at the end of 2014, and
the development of Poland's shale gas deposits are important
components of the government's strategy to reduce the country's
dependence on natural
gas imports from Russia and lower carbon dioxide
However, Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday also pledged
strong support for coal as a source of energy in Poland. The
country's pro-coal policy has put central and eastern Europe's
biggest European Union member at loggerheads with Brussels.
"Energy independence...requires not only diversification of
energy sources, but most of all using domestic sources to the
maximum," Mr. Tusk said in a speech in Katowice, the heart of
Poland's coal mining industry.
"That's why we decided that renewable energy sources, a
necessary supplement for Polish energy, will be as limited as
much as is possible in Europe. [...] Hard coal, lignite and in
the near future shale gas will be key for us. This is the
future of the Polish energy sector."
To protect its coal-dependent and outdated energy utilities,
Poland has opposed EU efforts for greater reductions in
pollution limits in recent years.
The country's largest power station, the lignite-fired
Belachatow plant, tops the EU's list of the bloc's biggest
single producers of carbon emissions.
Many international utilities that rushed into Poland to
build renewable energy facilities, mainly wind farms, are
now selling those facilities to Polish
state-controlled utilities amid disillusionment about the
future and profitability of renewable energy in the
In June, DONG Energy closed a deal to sell its wind farms to
PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna for 683 million zlotys ($212
million) following a similar disposal by Spain's
Dow Jones Newswires