Poland’s transport sector searches for top gear

The EU is rolling out more and more initiatives to boost e-mobility and the use of alternative fuels. Poland’s secretary of state for energy explains how his country is tackling the transport sector with an ambitious new plan.

Michał Kurtyka is secretary of state at Poland’s Ministry of Energy.

The fact that the transport sector brings many benefits to the European Union member states is incontestable. The industry employs nearly 11 million EU citizens and contributes 5% to the Union’s GDP.

Unfortunately, it also has a negative impact in the form of environment pollution. Transport is currently responsible for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions, while 70% of these emissions come from road transport alone.

Forecasts indicate that by 2030 transportation may become the main source of emissions in the EU. Therefore, the sector requires decisive reforms.

Poland wants to pursue initiatives, together with other EU countries, aimed at balancing the mobility needs of Europe’s inhabitants with protection of their health and respect for  the environment.

To meet the high expectations of the transport sector we have designed several regulations aimed at popularising low- and zero-emissions vehicles in Poland.

The Clean Transport Package contains documents that implement a 2014 EU directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.

Due to several initiatives provided for in the Package we have also decided to set up a financial instrument supporting the implementation of actions provided for in these documents.

This will be the Low-emission Transport Fund (FNT). Support from the Fund will be provided both to electromobility growth initiatives and to alternative fuel based transport projects such as hydrogen, CNG and LNG.

The range of projects eligible for financing is very broad – support will be provided to among others means of transport manufacturers, local governments investing in clean public transport, bio-component producers, as well as entities planning new vehicle purchases.

The Fund is also to support promotion and education on the use of alternative fuels in transport. For this the FNT will have a budget of around PLN 6.7 billion until 2027.

The measures proposed by Poland, intended to finance electromobility development and alternative fuel based transport projects, complement EU initiatives in this area.

 

The EU Clean Mobility Package indicates that in the coming years the key will be the improvement of transport organisation (particularly improving the effectiveness and integration of various types of transport), popularisation of cleaner vehicles (by enacting new CO2 emissions limits for vehicles), as well as increasing the availability of alternative energy to the transport industry, among others by building the relevant infrastructure.

The Low-emission Transport Fund will be responsible for implementation of these assumptions at national level.

The Urban Agenda for the EU indicates that urbanised areas inhabited by the majority of EU citizens are the flywheels of Union’s economy. We are eager for Polish cities to benefit from the innovative and collaboration-based approach to development and deployment of locally-oriented strategies while keeping a significant European dimension.

I am convinced that with the establishment of the Low-emission Transport Fund, local governments, undertakings and NGOs will become equal partners in the initiative.

The FNT goals are identical to those of the Urban Agenda for the EU, being primarily the improvement of the quality of life of citizens and overcoming the key challenges faced by cities – from employment up to mobility, environment and climate change.

Moreover, success of urban development will be the key element of the “Europe 2020” strategy for smart sustainable economic growth.

Today, electromobility expresses the Union’s aspirations for creating business and technology solutions in the EU that may provide it with a competitive advantage. Poland very much welcomes the fact that these aspirations are focused on a technology challenge.

Achieving the agreed electromobility targets will require an innovative, sustainable and competitive battery value chain throughout Europe. Batteries play a key role in the industrial revolution around us.

European universities and businesses are aspiring to become an important part of this emerging chain. This is why Poland has very enthusiastically joined the Commission’s EU Battery Alliance intended to develop a competitive value chain and also production of batteries in Europe.

Expanding electromobility in Poland and in the EU alike requires further legislative measures and consistently closer international economic cooperation between the member states.

National universities are conducting extensive research on energy conversion and applied electrochemistry. Importantly – Poland also has raw material resources needed for battery manufacturing and Polish entrepreneurs have the potential to engage in growing this sector.

Funds coming from the Low-emission Transport Fund will be the final complementary element, allowing financing of domestic initiatives under the EU Battery Alliance.

Combining international collaboration, government support and scientific potential and industry will allow Poland to become a key element of the European battery supply chain in a few years, and will allow the EU to develop modern technology innovations to compete with solutions coming from other parts of the world.

Another important aspect to be affected by initiatives deployed with the Low-emission Transport Fund financing is reduction of road transport induced pollution.

Support for growth of electromobility and popularisation of alternative fuels opens up realistic perspectives for air quality improvements not only in Poland but also in all EU countries.

It is worth noting that air quality improvement will not only improve public health (lower healthcare costs) but will also reduce damage to the environment and to buildings. It will also contribute towards reduction of traffic noise.

The measures relating to deployment of electromobility and popularisation of alternative fuels-based transport in Poland complement the relevant initiatives of the European Union.

As the Community, we are creating a legislative space and conditions for the development of a new innovative and competitive market in the EU.

However, the shape of the European model of the popularisation of electromobility will mostly be influenced by entrepreneurs, scientists and vehicle and public transport users.

So the job of the member states is to establish the optimal support instruments aimed at stimulating the uptake of electromobility and alternative fuels in their countries.

 

Source: www.euractiv.com

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