Key regulatory changes to the Energy Efficiency system in Poland
19 Септември 2017


The white certificate system, together with Energy Efficiency Obligation (EE0 scheme), were introduced in Poland in 2013.

Only a small number of white certificates were issued during the 2013-2016 biddings. This was caused by various regulatory flaws, e.g. unclear rules and definitions, lengthy procedures or draconian sanctions. Thus, the majority of obligated parties preferred the cheapest and safest solution of paying the substitution fee.

Recent changes introduced by the revised Energy Efficiency Act

The system has not adequately stimulated the activities aimed to ensure efficient use of energy. In order to improve it and due to mandatory implementation of Directive 2012/27/EU, a number of substantive changes has been introduced in the amended Energy Efficiency Act in May 2016.

Concerning projects selection, the bidding process have been scrapped and white certificate granting procedures have been simplified. The Energy Regulatory Office now selects energy efficiency projects on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, a high minimum energy savings threshold - of at least 10 toe per year for projects to obtain energy efficiency certificates - has been maintained. Such a provision blocks the access of a considerable number of end-users to the system.

The new Act limits the possibility to pay the substitution fee instead of fulfilling energy efficiency obligations (from 30% of the obligation for 2016 to 10% for 2018). However, paying a higher substitution fee is still possible when an obligated party can prove that white certificates were not available on an exchange platform or that their price was higher than the substitution fee. This solution attracts a lot of interest considering the limited supply of white certificates on the market in the past and concerns about their supply in the future.

The new Act also contains an additional section related to audits. It is now an obligation to perform energy audits every 4 years. There are exceptions for SMEs as well as entities having an energy management system or an environmental management system in place, where an energy audit has already been performed.

Overall progress so far

New Energy Efficiency Act has no expiry date, which implies a long-term perspective for energy efficiency in Poland. Despite the problems with law implementation and continuously growing economy and energy consumption, Poland has made significant progress in efficient energy management. The gap between Poland and the European average as regards the main energy efficiency indicators narrowed, however the most efficient economies remain well ahead.

Industry played a key role in reaching the national target established at 9 % of energy end-use savings (based on 2001-2005 average annual consumption, i.e. 4.59 Mtoe by 2016). The highest savings have been obtained by the chemical industry, which has achieved 27% of total industry cumulated energy savings for years 2008-2015 (3.884 Mtoe, based on P14 indicator value) .

Stimulating investments in modern, energy-efficient technologies and products contributes in making the Polish industry more innovative. However, energy saving measures have become more expensive in the manufacturing sectors: the energy intensity improvement rate fell significantly, from average 12.1%/year in 2006-2009 to 4.5% in years 2010-2015. Therefore, the energy-intensive industries in Poland strongly advocate to better take into account the role of public buildings and building sector in general, which provides a much greater potential of cost-efficient savings. However, there are still great efforts to be done by energy intensive industry, especially in view of new energy policy being currently prepared by Polish government.

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