Interview: China plays key role in development of green tech: Polish expert

WARSAW, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- China plays a key role in enabling large scale and lower cost production of green technologies that support the energy transition, contributing to the combat against global warming, the head of a leading Polish think tank told Xinhua ahead of COP26 in Britain.

According to Piotr Arak, director of the Polish Economic Institute (PIE), China's production capabilities have already contributed to lowering the cost of solar panels to one eighth of what it was in 2008.

"If you have technological advantages and can bring down the marginal price of green energy products for the end consumer, it would give us the possibility to adapt to possible spikes of energy use in the future," he said.

Arak said that decreasing prices for consumers would help the greening of the general energy mix as well. "For both China and Poland, countries with a similar energy mix, meaning with a limited access to gas and the like, it could solve some of the challenges going forward."

More affordable technology would be a great help for Poland, whose energy transition would be one of the most challenging in Europe. Even using transitional sources, attaining the COP26 goals would mean Poland would need to invest 136 billion euros (157 billion U.S. dollars) by 2030, and over one trillion euros (1.16 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2040.

"Poland needs to do a more rapid energy transition than any other country in Europe," he said.

It is important for Poland to meet its climate goal, which is to eliminate coal as an energy source as quickly as possible. Around 80 percent of the country's power production is sourced from coal, according to figures from the Polish Geological Institute.

Coal is also a mainstay fuel to heat Polish houses, especially in suburban and rural areas, Arak said. "It has an enormous influence on the air quality."

However, replacing coals with pure renewables is not realistic for Poland, Arak said. "We don't get enough sunlight, wind or hydropower for that. Renewables can therefore only be a part of the energy mix here, at least at the current technology level." Enditem

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