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The Characteristics of the Legal and Institutional Aspects of Local Energy Policy in Poland
lokalna polityka energetyczna
local energy policy
ROSICKI Remigiusz (2017), The Characteristics of the Legal and Institutional Aspects of Local Energy Policy in Poland, “Public Policy and Economic Development”, Issue 11, pp. 203-216.
Public Policy and Economic Development;11
The subject of analysis in this paper is the local energy policy of Poland in legal and institutional terms. The starting point for the analysis is the attempt to define the term “energy policy” and “local energy policy” on the basis of polish legal regulations. In the subsequent sections, the selected powers and competencies of provincial government and municipal government (local self-governing units) are presented in terms of energy supply and cooperation within the framework of local energy policy. The main research goal of the presented analysis is a synthetic study of local energy policy. To clarify the research problem, the following questions were indicated in paper: (1) To what extent do legal and institutional solutions affect the implementation of energy policy objectives in Poland? (2) To what extent do legal and institutional solutions affect the achievement of objectives of local energy policy in Poland?
The analysis covered the following issues: (1) the powers and competencies of provincial voivodship governments regarding offering a “projection draft to plan the supply of heat, electricity, and gas fuel” (energy supply plan), (2) coordination between provincial government and municipalities regarding energy supply and production, (3) provincial ensurance of complicity of energy supply plans for municipalities to the energy policies of the state, (4) municipal energy supply and consumption, (5) planning and financing lighting by municipalities, (6) municipal endeavors in the field of energy efficiency. In the presentation of the issues of local energy policy conducted by provincial and municipal governments, a broader study of the “projection drafts to plan the supply of heat, electricity, and gas fuel” was not taken into account, i.e. there was no analysis of its main structure, elements and complete implementation procedure. In this paper, the following research questions were addressed: (1) To what extent do legal and institutional solutions affect the implementation of energy policy objectives in Poland? (2) To what extent do legal and institutional solutions affect the achievement of objectives of local energy policy in Poland? The subsequent conclusions were assigned to particular questions: 1. Conclusions to the first question In literature, a frequently indicated problem is the status of the state energy policy as a document prepared by the Minister of Energy but adopted by the Council of Ministers. Accusations are also presented against the energy policies and the actions of energy policy related actions of politicians, parties, public institutions etc. Therefore, it seems appropriate to have more efforts be made by political actors in order to achieve greater coherence in political and institutional activities, as well as greater consistency between bills, which are directly and indirectly related to state energy legislation. Current legal regulations are insufficient because they are inefficient in regard to establishing strategic objectives and implementing the policies in the sphere of the energy technologies. A lack of accountability for the implementation of the state energy policy results in instrumental actions that are motivated by obligations to the European Union. Another negative factor is the influence of various interest groups, especially those connected to conventional energy technologies. The consequence of which is a lack of coherent vision or coordinated actions in the field of energy policy which would connect the central government with local authorities. When analyzing the subjective aspects of the state energy policy, the 2015 consolidation of energy-related departments into one distinguished Ministry of Energy should be considered. Poland’s increasing commitments to the European Union in the field of energy and environmental protection require increased efficiency from the Ministry of Energy. Overlapping problems in the field of energy and environmental protection requires further consolidation of competences by the Ministry of Energy. Problems related to energy and environmental protection may also fall within the competences of the Ministry of the Environment. Unfortunately, subjective changes in the state energy policy at the central level have not affected local energy policy. 2. Conclusions to the second question The organizational weaknesses of the central energy policy also result in problems associated with effective energy policy at the local level. The main legal and institutional instruments of local energy policy, excluding “local government laws,” are defined in the same chapter of the Energy Law Act, as requirements addressed to the Minister of Energy in the field of state energy policy. The main issues at the local level include: (1) ineffective instruments of the provincial government regarding the coordination of cooperation between municipal governments, (2) ineffective instruments and limited possibilities of the provincial governments regarding the verification of the compliance of municipal energy supply plans to the state energy policy, (3) lack of ability of the municipal governments to create comprehensive energy supply plans, (4) lack of ability of the municipal governments to comprehensively forecast energy consumption, (5) lack of ability of municipal governments to comprehensively assess the possibilities high-efficiency co-generated electricity and in energy efficient heating and cooling of the municipal territory. The low organizational potential of many municipal governments results in the creation and adoption of energy supply plans being dependent on information, documentation, studies, etc. from energy companies. In the absence of their own specialized staff, municipal governments are forced to use external services for such planning. This situation may give rise to suspicions regarding a conflict of interests occurring between the public and private spheres.
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