Dziennik Gazeta Prawna - Special Edition: World Economic Forum Davos 2022
Poland needs to transform its energy sector, build low- and zero-emission sources of electricity and heat production, and eliminate solid fuels from the mix in the heating sector. Experts agree that it is high time coal-fired power stations were replaced by offshore wind farms and nuclear energy, as well as small- and large-scale photovoltaics, with the use of gas as a fuel in the interim.
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“Unfortunately, high energy prices have impacted the production costs of aluminium, zinc, and nickel. These metals are crucial for renewable technology, such as solar panels and wind turbines,” said Paweł Strączyński, Vice-President of Bank Pekao S.A. “As a result, further price increases or disruptions in the supplies of those metals could make the energy transition more costly.”
The war in Ukraine, and before that the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the crisis in the energy commodity market, have largely reshuffled economic priorities. Furthermore, gas shortages in the warehouses of EU countries and rising prices have made investors very cautious when planning business projects. The EU has announced its plan to withdraw from imports of Russian energy commodities. In Poland, the government decided to stop importing Russian coal and gas almost right away.
“We should consider stepping up investments in renewable energy sources while securing coal-based energy production during the transition,” said Jerzy Kwieciński, Vice-President of Bank Pekao S.A. responsible for the Corporate, Markets, and Investment Banking Division. “It is also crucial to remove all barriers for the development of renewable energy, first and foremost by providing regulatory support for large investments in wind farms, both offshore and onshore.”
Bank Pekao S.A. has just announced the financing of the construction of a photovoltaic farm with a total target capacity of 285.6 MW. Once production starts, it will be the largest photovoltaic farm in Poland. According to its strategy, the bank’s commitment is to allocate EUR 30 billion for the co-financing of environmental projects over the next four years. The wind farm construction facility will be funded by a consortium of three banks. The total amount of financing to be extended by the banks is PLN 763.4 million, more than one third committed by Bank Pekao.
“This is going to be a gamechanger,” said Jerzy Kwieciński, Vice-President of Bank Pekao. “As a bank, we want to invest at least PLN 8 billion to finance sustainable projects, including green and social projects, and to support the issuance of ESG bonds of the bank’s clients in the amount of at least PLN 22 billion.”
Pekao plans to increase the share of green financing to over 4% of its balance-sheet portfolio. The funding will be offered for projects such as wind farms, photovoltaic systems, low-emission transport, and sustainable construction. Pekao S.A. has already coordinated and brokered the issue of PKN Orlen’s 10-year bonds whose interest rate is linked to the MSCI ESG rating. The bank has also supported the Tauron Group in its sustainable development bond issue. Earlier, as a member of a consortium, Pekao extended a loan for the construction of the largest onshore wind farm in Poland at Potęgowo in Pomerania. ©℗