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Chapters 2 and 3 introduce the reader to the forms and functions of reliquaries in the Middle Byzantine period, and are thus the foundation for the dissertation. Chapter 2 outlines the different types of reliquaries that were inscribed with epigrams. It presents aspects of their design and form, including imagery and the placement of the epigrams. Chapter 3 provides a brief historical survey of the various contexts in which reliquaries were used, from personal possessions to public veneration practices.
Chapters 4—6 focus on epigrams. Chapter 4 examines the ways in which epigrams—both in content and placement—function to make relics visually and haptically accessible to the faithful. Chapter 5 explores the relationship between reliquary and metaphor.
What are the ways in which the ekphrastic character of epigrams describes, interprets, and presents reliquaries for and to their owners? Chapter 7 presents my conclusions concerning the forms of reliquaries, relic accessibility, viewer interpretations, and patron motivations. The Appendices catalogue the 74 Middle Byzantine reliquaries inscribed with epigrams. I demonstrate that epigrams—in addition to being textual—have visual and spatial dimensions, wrapping the exterior, interior, front, back, and sides of reliquaries.
The Ministry of the Economy also suggested that all offset contracts should be directed at defence companies, which will contribute to the development of Polish defence capabilities and will allow further expansion of the European technological and industrial defence base.
The document also envisages the creation of the Offset Committee, which is an advisory body to the Minister of National Defence. It will be performing analytical tasks related to defence and security. The amendment to the offset law was necessary because it needs to be consistent with European regulations. After changes, it will be in line with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, especially with the provision authorizing each EU member state to undertake measures it deems necessary to protect its security.
Unfortunately, Polish companies will not benefit from the purchase of licences for the production of drones. Israeli companies Elbit Systems Ltd. It was being developed by the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia. In , the Defence Ministry announced that the corvette would be completed in or , and its final cost will be nearly PLN 1. But in , the shipyard went bankrupt and the project, which absorbed PLN million, was abandoned.
The company works towards the modernization of military equipment and the development of new technological solutions in the defence industry. O brum Sp. The tank, is to be a light up to 40 tonnes armoured vehicle on a universal modular crawler platform. The project is scheduled to be completed by In total, Obrum Sp.
It currently holds 67 patented solutions, and further three are underway. Simulators and virtual reality Owing to modern simulation technologies, it is possible to reduce the cost of training soldiers, making use of SK-1 Pluton or iRys systems. The first product is a training system for crews of the wheeled armoured vehicle Rosomak four integrated simulators corresponding to a platoon.
In addition to training, it is designed primarily for exercise in respect of military tactics. The use of the HLA High Level Architecture and DIS Distributed Interactive Simulation communication interfaces creates the possibility of conducting, at the same time and in the same virtual space, exercise for much larger groups that may be located in different units across Poland, as well as in other countries.
In contrast, iRys is a system that makes it easier, among others, to force buildings or to rescue hostages by soldiers equipped with special goggles, weapon replicas and sensors that record the most important vital functions. In addition, iRys has an electrical system that simulates the effect of a gunshot. Overall, it enables tactical training of soldiers and carrying out any combat mission scenario for a team and 20 independent individuals.
Dual use Many products made by Obrum, although they are developed for military purposes, can be successfully used on the commercial market, such as MS Daglezja, a truck-mounted mobile bridge. A span fitted in a specially adapted track allows to overcome obstacles with a width of 20 metres, and it takes only 10 minutes to spread it. It is a perfect solution for regional crisis management centres in the event of floods or landslides that destroyed the existing bridges. The MS belongs to the Daglezja family of bridges, which also includes MS truckmounted mobile bridge overcoming metre obstacles and MG a crawler mobile bridge overcoming metre obstacles.
So far, your flagship product has been the Beryl machine gun. It is highly appreciated by soldiers. What is its biggest advantage? The most important is reliability. The weapon may be lightweight, ergonomic, well-designed, but all this has no significance if it fails in difficult conditions, such as dust or mud, typical of what is called the theatre of war. Soldiers must be sure that their gun will shoot. They cannot focus on whether the weapon will work or not work, they must be focused on completing the task.
Our weapons have been a bit modified as a result of foreign missions. The first Beryl guns we produced had a slightly different look. Beryl has been upgraded in terms of ergonomics and optoelectronic innovations. Now everything that is available on the market can be installed on Beryl.
We have also worked on some of the nuances. Some switches are duplicated, some enlarged because soldiers had problems using them in gloves. We would not have been able to learn such things from the test ground. It turned out that in the desert this weapon was actually reliable, but had some ergonomic shortcomings. Today Beryl is a rifle that successfully works in heavy-combat conditions.
Beryl is a success story, but with the launch of a new plant, you want to market a new product. The army must continually develop. We had new ideas to further upgrade Beryl, but the army told us, and I think rightly so, to focus on the development of a completely new weapon. We also wanted to use a completely new philosophy in the development of weapons.
There are already the first effects of it in the form of the Modular Firearm System MSBS , which is the whole family of our new products. MSBS is supposed to replace Beryl in the long term. Some units in the army still use Kalashnikov rifles. Beryl is not the only gun in the Polish Army. Soldiers on missions use of course only Beryl, but some units in the country still have AK Kalashnikov.
Starting from the next year, we want to gradually equip the army with MSBS in the basic version. That is a novelty on a world scale. Given that the army is composed of career soldiers, who are well trained, they can be entrusted pm with a complicated device. We want soldiers to be able to configure the weapon according to their needs, depending on the area where they operate. In an open area, the weapon is preferred in classic layout allowing shooting at longer distances.
The bullpup configuration takes the upper hand in urban areas. With both systems installed in one common chamber, soldiers are able to choose the most appropriate equipment taking into account specific tasks. Soldiers will be given a set of elements based on which they will be able to configure one single weapon. The MSBS family will, in a few years, consist of 10 types of 5. When designing this weapon, we departed from the principles characteristic of the Kalashnikov system: it contains a number of patents and innovative solutions developed by our designers in collaboration with experts from the Military University of Technology.
So you bet on modularity and at what soldiers really need? It would be ideal if even the commander does not have to tell soldiers what weapon to use in a given action. The commander would tell soldiers what their job is and they would be able to gear the weapon to their needs using available elements.
We also know that pm Defence Sector everyone has their own preferences. Owing to modular solutions, soldiers will be able to configure weapons in such a way as to feel most comfortable with them and to have the greatest confidence. Professionals should be allowed to do so. In your opinion, is it beneficial for the company?
The entire defence industry in the world undergoes consolidation. No other solution makes sense. As one group, we will have an opportunity to present a more comprehensive product range not only for the Polish army. So far, there has been a Polish-Polish competition.
It cannot be that two Polish companies, having the same owner, I mean the government, compete against each other. The development potential has been inhibited too. Two companies would develop the same technology without communicating and cooperating with each other. It is bad taking into account the money and time spent, and the human potential involved.
I think that the market can accommodate everyone. We only make certain calibers, whereas they are focused on sniper rifles and heavy machine belt-fed gun. There is a place for everyone. Coordination is simply needed. Making part of a strong group, we also have better funding opportunities, and cheaper supplies pm of materials and energy.
A strong group is furthermore a more serious partner in cooperation with foreign companies, especially that international transactions look different today often involving technology transfers, and not only equipment purchase. Purchases are also combined of several products in one transaction. Such offers are now sought.
Governments want a more comprehensive service and buy military equipment in packages. A large, state-owned group is a good partner for the Polish army. The domestic defence industry is in fact a natural hinterland for the army and the main partner accompanying its development and modernization. I believe that, with a newly built modern plant, it will become one of its leaders. PL WWW.
What is graphene and why is it considered so innovative? It is often presented as a homogenous network. However, no such perfect structure exists; it can be manufactured in the form of small, adjoining and overlapping flakes. All these properties are combined in one substance — this combination is behind the revolutionary potential of graphene in the field of materials engineering.
Note that graphene can be obtained or produced in two basic ways — by growing it on a crystalline material or by cracking graphite into extremely thin flakes. Polish scientists specialise in the former. The Warsaw Institute of Electronic Materials Technology developed a method of growing graphene on silicon carbide, which allows top quality structures to be manufactured. We should also mention that graphene is the first stable, durable and useable twodimensional crystalline form and its unique properties are inspiring research on similarly structured materials with the aim and hope of finding other unique characteristics.
It is, therefore, no surprise that global companies are increasingly enthusiastic about the technologies developed with this new material. It should be stressed that the state of work on the commercial applications of graphene is nowhere near as advanced as the mythology that the media would have us believe, with claims that this wonderful material is one step away from mass application in all areas of life, or that it is already in use.
The hopes for a graphene breakthrough in various areas of technology are definitely justified, but they should be considered with real capabilities in mind — and these show that graphene might remain in the lab for quite a long time. For the time being, we are awaiting the release of graphene-based products. Conductive graphene ink will be coming to the market, which will make it possible to print flexible electronic circuits on any surface.
Construction materials are the subject of experiments and there are high hopes for the biological properties of graphene. The potential areas in which graphene might be applied can be determined and then compared, for example on the basis of scientific publications and patent activity. Some notable fields include the automotive industry, chemical sensors, composite materials, batteries, fuel cells, ultrafast lasers, solar panels, touchscreens, and supercapacitors.
Obviously, not all the research results are published and patented. Which applications are the most profitable? I think that at this stage these are construction materials, sensors of various substances and electrical energy storage solutions — in the form of graphene-modified Li-ion cells and supercapacitors.
Such storage solutions open up new opportunities for making use of renewable energy sources and can be an impulse for electric cars optimisation and market expansion. Can graphene become a Polish export product? It already is one. Coming back to the Polish proposal — within the next couple of days Nano Carbon will be marketing x mm graphenecovered copper foil sheets.
The graphene structure will be uniform and single-atom over the entire surface of the sheet. No other company can boast such a product. It is certainly a huge opportunity and a challenge for the company. This will elevate the quality requirements to the stringent standards used in the defence industry, where the performance and reliability of equipment directly determine the safety of soldiers on the battlefield.
Especially in recent weeks we have been obliged to re-evaluate this field, as innovation in the Army is becoming a question of national interest. T here are already dozens of government space agencies around the world. The final step to full membership was the ratification of the agreement by the Polish parliament and the President of Poland, which took place in November The European Space Agency will support the commercialization of research findings and the introduction of new technologies.
The main task of POLSA will not be space exploration, but defence and supporting Polish industry in winning new contracts. The mission of the Polish Space Agency POLSA is to coordinate activities that are now scattered among different institutions and ministries, identify interesting and important applications, create its own laboratories, facilitate knowledge sharing, etc.
The creation of the Agency will allow to coordinate research and economic activities, as well as international cooperation with regard to research and exploitation of space. It is intended to coordinate all Polish space initiatives in the sphere of administration, science and industry. The annual budget of the Agency will be relatively small compared to the contribution approx. This money is then repaid in contracts. In 10 years, the staff number is likely to increase to people and these will actually be engineers only.
Owing to the cooperation with ESA, Polish entrepreneurs and scientists will receive both financial support and access to infrastructure. Such a cooperation is likely to significantly improve the life quality of Poles, who every day, unconsciously, use devices and applications produced by the space sector. We use them when, for example, doing shopping, housework, driving a car or surfing the Internet.
What is your advantage over other universities and research centres? Our advantage is that most of our research leads not to reports but concrete products. The most problematic is putting them on the market outside the armaments sector.
The latter is stable - determined by the state capital - and we know our way round. It would be good if it benefits them too. Competition is a stimulating factor, and we are confident about our potential and our advantages. The most important of the latter is experience that we have been gaining for years, that is at least since , when the economic transition began i Poland. The year also marks changes in military technologies in the Polish army. And WAT fits well in a nearly year-old tradition of the military education in Poland.
Do you believe that the Military University of Technology is able to successfully enter with its dual-use technologies a competitive civilian market and get confronted there with producers from outside the defence sector, including large international corporations? In the rankings of Polish universities of technology, all departments of WAT are among top 10 schools. Does it mean that you have no weak points?
Rankings are compiled with respect to different aspects of academic activities. I would be most interested in the ranking illustrating the structure of university budgets - how much the universities get from the state, and how much they can acquire themselves by obtaining grants, commercial contracts, implementations, licensing agreements, etc.
I dare to say that in such a ranking WAT would be in the first place, because approx. This does not mean that everything is perfect. For the past six months, we have analyzed these processes at WAT - we already know what went wrong and what can be improved relatively quickly. Still, much remains to be done. The National Centre for Research and Development has already done a great job, rebuilding the national system of allocation of public grants for research and development projects.
This process should be continued, with a focus on creating rules to pursue projects that give prospects for commercialization. However, information is missing which companies would be interested in implementing all the product or one of its elements. Commercialization combines human potential and the results of scientific research.
If we make a mistake at any stage of this process, we will nor succeed. For example, in our case, it appears that the sale of licences is often more profitable than patent protection, but it requires extremely well-designed contracts and, therefore, an appropriate legal framework. I would exaggerate saying that we have already overcome all these problems, but we do have a road map.
But everything takes time Defence Sector Yes. We believe that we can deal with it in the course of the new EU financial perspective. Analyzing research processes taking place at WAT, we diagnosed phenomena that we have to change and we will do it quickly. The proof of the quality of our education is the participation of our students in the world finals of the most prestigious technological contest Microsoft Imagine Cup. Let us talk a bit about the research areas in which scientists from WAT are successful today.
The most important research areas at the Military University of Technology, which carry a large technological and economic potential, include: laser technology, optoelectronics, navigation and satellite observation, satellite communication, new sources of renewable energy and directed energy weapons. These areas are an inexhaustible source of dual-use technology. Let us have a look at space and satellite technologies. The first impression is associated with satellites, shuttles and space stations, while most of the solutions have their first applications on Earth.
These technologies are important in the area of national security, but we also point to their utilitarian use. For example, together with our industrial partners, we have applied to the European Space Agency. On the initiative of WAT a roadmap is being developed of the Polish space exploration research infrastructure. As regards the above-mentioned protection of cyberspace, it is a domain of the team of Prof. Andrzej Najgebauer, who deals with cyber security systems and battlefield simulation systems.
We have signed agreements with a number of companies specialized in this area. We want to use the results of our research to develop a cyberspace protection system for universities in Poland. Not without significance is our enormous potential and pm experience in cryptology.
It presents our commercialization model and various companies formed by WAT and its partners, such as the Polonia Aero, a large laboratory for testing aircraft engine turbine prototypes. It is to be built in Zielonka, outside Warsaw. The Military University of Technology is the only Polish university that has set up its own cluster. On the initiative of Prof. Its aim is to develop innovative products and services in the field of biotechnology, waste management, water management and the widely understood environmental protection, and to market them domestically and internationally.
In the near future, we will initiate the second cluster the space and satellite engineering one. The size of WAT, measured by the number of students, seems to be optimal from the point of view of the quality of education and research. Therefore, our goal for the coming years is to improve cooperation with business partners. WAT unites the scientific community to use mutual experience without wasting money for research in the areas studied by other centres.
Another important aspect is shortening of the time from the inception of the project to its market implementation. Business partners, participating financially in a research project, realistically expect a rapid return on the product sold. Such an approach requires a mental switch. Cooperation is needed that will ensure the dynamic development of the university and the business environment. What does it consist in and what is it intended for? The idea is to develop coal gasification technology for highly efficient production of fuels and electricity, which is one of the research tasks under the Strategic Programme for Research and Development.
We are involved in the part concerning underground coal gasification. Generally speaking, the idea is to burn coal underground instead of burning it after extraction, and to obtain gas that can be used for boilers, engines and in chemical industry. Beds do not need to be mined and coal transported on the surface. This may be applied in the case of debris deposits or hardly accessible deposits, for example in the case of large coal deposits located at depths greater than 1, meters, well below the current limit of the profitability of traditional methods.
It is a pilot installation, which aims to determine benefits, costs and problems it may bring. It is necessary to determine how much gas can be retrieved from a given amount of coal, how big one single georeactor can be, what grid density is needed to gasify the entire bed, and how much the underground and on-the-surface installations - the one receiving gas and the one using it - will cost.
There is a series of questions that need to be answered. We have already selected a bed which can be used in this way on an industrial scale. But first we have to finish the experiment, sum it up, and carefully weigh any possible costs and profits. Industry In times when profit is defined also in terms of innovative technologies, does KHW work with research units to develop such solutions?
We are too small as a company to independently conduct research. But we get involved in such programmes wherever possible. In a sense, we have no choice. We have to compete with mines in Siberia or Mongolia, where mining costs are several to twenty dollars per ton.
In Poland, the deep mining method corresponds roughly to ARA prices. Our advantage is high-quality coal and low costs of transport, but competition will continue to rise in power. Therefore, anything which gives a concrete hope for reducing production costs and achieving additional profits is worth some interest and commitment. I constantly hope that it will be so, and doctrinaire thinking will finally be replaced by the logic and economic balance.
Coal is and will be the cheapest source of energy. Nothing indicates that for technological reasons it could be effectively replaced by other sources in the near future. That is true not only about Poland. Germany, which departed from coal, is coming back to it building new, interestingly, brown coal power units, which have a lower heating value, and emit more pollutants than black coal.
Japan, after the Fukushima nuclear disaster caused by a tsunami, bets on coal-based energy. And the country does not have a single active coal mine. It does not substitute pm nuclear with gas, wind turbines, solar panels or sea waves. Should we suspect they cannot count?
What to choose then: energy from conventional sources or from renewables? There should be some kind of energy mix. It is true that, according to latest estimates, coal in Poland should be enough for at least a few dozen years of normal use, but some time it will finally get depleted. Probably not as fast as foreseen by experts like those who 40 years ago predicted a twenty-year career of crude oil, still there will be some end one day or another.
Therefore, we have to be reasonable. However, in Polish conditions, energy companies cover the full cost of energy production from fossil fuels and pay additional burdens. In contrast, renewables are subsidized and have guaranteed prices. In imports, energy is sold for almost nothing, because our neighbours generate surpluses in wind turbines peak working time.
That discourages investment in the development, modernization, replacement of power units so they are more efficient. And, whether one likes it or not, conventional energy sources provide heat and electricity regardless of the time of day, year, or wind strength So we have powerful Asian economies China, India that are strongly focused on coal, U. Practically, since , no comprehensive fuel and energy balance has been compiled.
So no one tried to determine how much coal and from what sources - domestic, imports - will be needed for our energy sector. On the other hand, we have a strong renewable energy lobby, some representatives of which behave as if they believed that destroying the national coal-based energy sector will lead to a situation of no choice: only expensive renewable energy generation and imports will remain. According to advocates of the climate package, coal combustion results in the carbon dioxide emissions, which is true, and to climate warming, which - said in terms of certainties - is abusive.
There were once pm a tropical sea and a glacier where our company is now. Man was not there yet, so they could not interfere with the climate. Relationship has not be proved clearly between human activities and the global climate change. The implementation of the climate policy costs EU countries hundreds of billions of euros every year. At the same time, it causes a significant deterioration of EU industrial competitiveness and the exodus of manufacturing plants to countries that are guided by logic, not dogma.
Someone imagined that the European Union will be a clean piece of the world, without production, offering services, technological ideas and providing consultancy to the rest of the world. But it works neither in the new EU countries, which still have to go a long way of development, nor in the so-called old Europe. Although this cannot be seen from air-conditioned offices in major political centres, the vast majority of production is dirty. And it cannot be different. How do you assess the energy security of Poland?
Let us make use of it - in a time when everyone talks about the concept of energy security. Meanwhile, we put a great emphasis on cross-border transmission capacities, pipelines, underground oil and gas storage We have at our fingertips enormous resources of coal and lignite able to provide energy security and the cheapest electricity for many years.
Curbing mining or closing down mines is a one-way operation. We have to make a decision: either invest and exploit, or close. And indeed, if the situation does not radically change soon, we will need to very seriously consider closing certain mines and the Upper Silesian Coal Basin due to costs. We should, however, be aware of how much we will have to pay for imported coal for lack of domestic mines and in the absence of competition. And how much end customers will pay for it.
Everything in economy is a function of supply and demand. How was it protected? This region of Chile is very sensitive to possible seismic tremors, so we took it into account when making the decision to acquire the mine. We have taken appropriate measures to protect it against the possible consequences of the disaster, although it entailed an increased spending: outlays estimated at the stage of feasibility study were lower, but increased as a result of changes to the security measures.
Today, however, the mine is safe enough to withstand tremors of up to Fortunately, the epicenter of the latest earthquake was far away from our mine — it was most felt in a town about km north of Sierra Gorda. How was the idea born to go global? Your activity within one country proved insufficient, or such are the requirements of the times? Until recently, we were focused on a single bed in Poland, but exploitation of an underground mine is relatively expensive.
We sought to venture into lower-cost assets, preferably an open-pit mine. That is how the idea was born to acquire Sierra Gorda, or expand to Latin America in general. It is an assumption beyond our willingness to get involved in nuclear and renewable energy — I am myself a fan of photovoltaic cells and I believe they have a future. If you can feel your company, and it has certain know-how, you would like it to be recognized somewhere in the world, and to make money while selling skills.
Dreams sometimes come true. There was also a patriotic factor. After , Ignacy Domeyko worked there, so I can say that we are now following in his footsteps. He spent 46 years in La Serena, where he settled as a refugee from Tsarist Russia. He got married and had children there. We have had an opportunity to meet his grandchildren. Not at all. In addition to searching for new deposits of copper and other metals, we would like for example to implement an intelligent mine project, where it would no longer be necessary to send people to risky areas.
Anyway, we are guided by the same idea in Chile. We contemplate unmanned devices that make use of neural networks. We were not an independent company. We had no influence on copper prices as these were determined by foreign trade enterprises. In subsequent years, the company was to undergo an almost incessant restructuring.
Today, we employ over 18 thousand people, over 40 thousand less than a quarter of a century ago. Through the years, we have been driving culture in the cities of Lubin or Polkowice, the whole infrastructure of the region being formed by KGHM. And nothing has changed in this respect. Over time, however, we have made a real leap forward. KGHM is a modern globally-oriented company, focused on generating income for its stakeholders, the largest of which remains the State Treasury.
Environmental protection has become an essential requirement of the present time. How is it at KGHM? Of course, we are a company that cares about environmental protection. The expression of it is an award we have received from a prestigious Canadian foundation acting in the field of sustainable development. In , our plants were on the list of 80 biggest polluters in Poland, especially in terms of sulphur dioxide emissions. Today, they practically do not emit SOx as we use it for the production of sulphuric acid, an excellent chemical industry product.
There is no doubt, however, that saw a new opening for companies that have an idea for their business future. A very close one, although we still employ people. In Chile, one of the problems we face is increasing labour costs. And so it is in Poland. The difference is that in Chile there is an employee market. It is an employee who chooses a job there, and not vice versa. Labour costs incurred during the construction of the mine turned out higher than estimated when we envisaged investing in Chile.
Nevertheless, innovation, not only in Poland, allows to mitigate cost-related risks. For example, we are involved in a renewable energy project. We want to build on the Atacama Desert a copper-based photovoltaic farm, which would use sunlight to generate electrical energy required for the production of copper. In Poland, quite differently, copper is smelted in foundries, while in Chile, we rely on chemistry. There is some kind of a dream at the core of our expansion. While the company has been operating for more than 50 years, it saw a particularly intensive development over the last 25 years.
Where did you stand in ? And at what point are you today? What brought the idea about? First, we started thinking about buying a project, and not about taking over a company. By buying a mine, together with an external partner, we could exploit copper. The mine at issue was Sierra Gorda. Then Quadra announced a tender for the sale of its mine.
We were shortlisted, along with the well-known Japanese company Sumitomo that eventually won the tender. KGHM has recently participated in energy-related projects. What future do you see ahead for the company in this segment of the economy?
The way we think about energy has changed. I think we should go into projects that will naturally protect us against the rising energy costs. In my view, we can create a Polish product based on metals extracted in Poland. We are — next to the Treasury — the main shareholder of the Tauron energy company. It is not going to change yet. With such an amount of energy it is possible to react in case of blackouts or random events, to quickly evacuate people from underground mines, early extinguish furnaces or ventilate pits at risk.
This objective has been achieved. We are waiting for the investment to be officially started. These were landmark events which we would like to assess not only from the historical perspective, but especially from the forward-looking one. Prime Minister Donald Tusk has promised simpler legal processes to investors interested in shale-gas extraction in Poland.
Do you think this will accelerate growth in the shale-gas sector? On 11 March the Government adopted a draft amendment which will eliminate the administrative barriers inhibiting the searching for, identification and extraction of hydrocarbons including mainly shale gas. The amendments to geological and mining law, and also to other legal Acts, will have a positive impact on the hydrocarbon-extraction industry in Poland. Among other things, new principles for licensing hydrocarbon-related activities will be introduced.
A wide array of changes is intended to provide simpler legal processes and to eliminate bureaucratic barriers. This has been a major decision and a step in the right direction. Can this make Poland independent of Russian gas? I do not think a single decision can lead to such independence, but several different decisions optimising gas supplies certainly can do so.
The U. This issue is complex for many reasons. Firstly, the USA does not have the right technical facilities to liquefy gas and reload it on ships, although the construction of adequate installations has already begun. Americans, for whom the economy is top-priority to quote one of the U. The energy-absorbing industries are moving to the USA, mostly from Europe, in order to use cheaper raw materials. Should there be huge supplies of liquefied gas from the USA, Europe would be much less dependent on Russia.
However, this concerns political strategies which go beyond the scope of business considerations and the impact of businessmen. If these sources are activated or extended, we will be able to speak of steady non-sensitivity of the European economy to fluctuating supplies from the east. In my opinion, the whole issue is not about cutting ourselves off from Russian gas. It would be irrational, given that the Russian gas fields are located relatively closely to those areas to which gas is supplied.
Forgoing these supplies for non-business reasons would not make sense. Instead we should aim at a situation in which decisions concerning gas supplies, supply conditions, technical parameters and prices could be made by enterprises or corporate groups while the gas itself would not be the object of political horse-trading. What is your opinion about the current status of Poland as regards energy security?
It is under no threat. This results from, among other things, the awareness of the absolute need to maintain this security, on the part of both the Government and the business world. This organisation unites companies, scientific centres and institutions, operating in the widely understood energy sector in Central Europe. It must therefore be a safe harbour to the public that can hardly function in the 21st century without steady and regular supplies of electricity, gas and liquefied fuels.
What, in your opinion, should the Polish fuel mix look like? Hard coal and lignite form the basis of our energy sector. We should not yield to the heated and often violent critique of extreme ecological organisations which demand the immediate shut-down of coal-fired power plants, as their views are inappropriate and daydreamt. Coal-fired processes should be refined to reduce their environmental impact. Modern technologies can surely do so, which can be seen in Germany, where several coal-fired facilities are currently under construction or modernisation.
As regards the Polish fuel mix, coal has to play the leading role at least for the next decades. We must avoid a situation in which we make our best endeavours to catch up with the EU, at the same time putting an excessive burden on society, resulting from stringent CO2 emission standards.
I hope that the much more economically efficient western countries will understand that closing the GDP and living standards gap is in the best interests of us all. Europe must compete with the rest of the world. High energy costs do not foster such competition and huge income disproportions between individual countries do harm to it.
These are complex issues but I am convinced of the willingness to consider our postulates and views. That question can be answered quite soon: at European Council meeting in June. Energy industry experts, however, believe that even if a makeover occurs in the current position of the EU, it will be evolutionary and will become apparent in the long run.
Currently, both issues are under discussion in the European Union. In the opinion of Mikusek, however, it is too early for the time being to anticipate possible changes in the climate and energy policy of the EU.
Three goals with the domination of energy balance EU energy policy is based on three goals: sustainable, competitive and secure energy. As written by Jerzy Dudek from the European Centre Natolin in his recent study, sustainability has begun over time to play a dominant role at the expense of competitiveness of the European energy sector.
However, according to Dudek, changing circumstances - the recession-driven eagerness to increase competitiveness of the industry and the aggressive foreign policy of Russia - may lead to the restoration of balance between the three goals. In fact, it is energy policy that was to become a leading topic of the last meeting of the European Council of March If it did not happen, it is due to the Russian invasion of the Crimea.
As a result, key decisions on energy and climate have been postponed. Renewables instead of coal? The result would be a sharp drop in the cost of energy production and a rapid leap towards energy independence and CO2 emissions reduction. This thesis still circulates somewhere around the EU. However, several years on, experiences vary. For example, Spain almost from day to day invested heavily in the renewable energy sector.
And then suddenly it had to withdraw due to the increasing sovereign debt. Many industries came to existence for which the development of renewable energy sources created potential benefits. And of course they would like these investments to remain profitable. Polish veto Meanwhile, even that was not enough for the EU air pollution fighters and renewable energy enthusiasts. As reminded by Dudek, starting a debate in and setting plans for a low carbon economy by , the European Commission remained in line with the existing logic of the energy policy.
Finally, negotiations on establishing goals until did not lead to concrete decisions because of opposition from the Polish government. At the same time, it was pointed out that the issue of energy efficiency will be analyzed in detail during the review of the Directive on energy efficiency, which is to end in In a recent interview for the portal wnp. He added that the reduction of emissions in Poland in the foreseeable future will not be the result of the diversification of fuels in the power sector.
This is the most effective way of reducing CO2 emissions in Polish conditions. However, it is not determined yet and requires further discussion. For example, Germany, Scandinavia, France and Western Europe in general invested heavily in renewable or atomic energy. In addition, public opinion there favours further restrictions on CO2 emissions and advocates the development of renewables.
The West feels quite safe. Firstly, because CO2 emissions are actually not related to the production of electricity, but to the consumption of goods. If Europe buys in China or in other places, then it will be buying the carbon footprint and emissions of CO2.
And show some related hypocrisy: we buy products with emissions: T-shirts, jeans and i-pads, whatever. First, energy security, understood as a guarantee of the supply of electricity, heat and gas, should be based to the maximum extent on domestic primary energy resources. Second, the justified desire to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by promoting renewable energy must take into account the need to maintain the competitiveness of European industry and diversified financial capabilities of EU countries.
Third, mere political slogans and ideologies are not able to replace the traditional European industry, in particular the energy-intensive sectors, with one single industry - renewable energy sources. We have to find a way to make them coexist. I hope that the political situation in Ukraine and the ensuing turbulence on the energy market will remind Brussels officials that life of EU citizens must be based on solid grounds, that the European economy needs copper, zinc, steel, cement, glass, paper, that energy is not only CO2, but also the need to continually meet the energy needs of millions of citizens of the Community.
That cannot be ensured by renewable energy alone. Moreover, the fear of interruption of gas supplies has shown clearly that the European Union has not created a single energy market and has not availed itself of diversified energy supplies. As a representative of Polish energy-intensive industries, I appeal to political elites for greater moderation and reason in declaring feasible emissions reduction goals after They actually define the boundaries of not only development, but also further functioning of energy-intensive sectors of European industry, and decide on the fate of millions of inhabitants of Polish industrial regions.
It would be good to remember that not only before, but also after elections. There have been changes in energy trade rules, market and environmental requirements, and above all in the organization of energy companies. We have come a long way from socialist units, centrally-planned and offering officially fixed energy prices, through the radical organizational fragmentation of the market, to the emergence of large energy corporations that realistically compete for customers today, operating in line with market-based principles.
One can also see with the naked eye technological progress that has allowed to improve the efficiency of electricity and heat generation, reduce the environmental footprint of power plants, or to put in place more efficient waste management systems. Energy security has recently become a core issue both for the economy especially in terms of energy-intensive industries, and for individual people.
For this reason, it is necessary to have a diversified and balanced fuel mix, which will provide an acceptable level of prices. It should be kept in mind that a well-balanced generation portfolio is extremely important not only at a national scale, but also from the point of view of individual energy companies.
Such a generation fleet, made using best available technologies, will be aimed at providing our customers stable and continuous energy supplies for many years. In the late s, both in Poland and in Europe, electricity began to be considered as a commodity.
In , a new Law on energy was enacted, which paved the way for the liberalization of the electricity market and the privatization of the power sector. Then, the Polish Power Exchange was established as an essential element of liberalization of the electricity market in Poland. The Polish Power Exchange has been successful. Energy is available for Polish companies in one click. And they can buy it at a transparent price.
As a result, it contributed to giving equal opportunities to Polish industry internationally. Undoubtedly, the most important issue in Poland, but also across the EU, is now energy security. Therefore, we come as a natural partner in the system of the European energy trade.
From year to year, we are gaining ever stronger foothold on the European market. The increase in turnover in recent years has positioned us as one of the fastest growing markets in Europe. The domestic market has become also one of the most liquid markets in Central and Eastern Europe. We are facing the challenges related to the emerging competitive gas market. I am convinced that our ambitions are feasible to build a blue fuel market of similar size as the electricity one.
From the perspective of the past 25 years, it should be stressed that - with great effort and determination that have been invested in the construction of the Polish energy sector -we managed to develop a free-market model of the Polish energy sector. But such a determination must continue, because we still have a lot of opportunities to seize in order to strengthen our position in the CEE region and in Europe as a whole.
Since January PSE has been pursuing an updated strategy, which defines the key tasks of the company until Which of them are the most important when it comes to energy security? The updating of the PSE strategy until is an important step for our company because the strategic goals the document defines are the lodestar for our activity while the effective performance of the tasks defined as strategic projects is the most important challenge for our staff and workers.
Investment projects are one of the most important areas of PSE activity. PSE is now conducting one of the biggest investment programmes in Poland. We are expanding the network of modern substations and electricity transmission interconnectors. Access to energy, alongside road building, is an important factor determining the development of every Polish region. Considering the scale and scope of these investment projects, one can say without exaggeration that our activity in this area is of great magnitude because the investment projects will give the next generations the security of electricity supply.
The company has been preparing for this very ambitious investment process for several years. We have worked out and implemented a new effective investment model. In , we are going to spend on them PLN million. In the coming five years, from to , PSE will set aside around PLN billion for investment in transmission networks, which will significantly enhance the security of electricity supplies.
I suspect there are many more interesting things going on in such a large company as PSE. The construction of an electricity interconnector between Poland and Lithuania is the biggest investment project we are now conducting. The first stage of the project is made up of 11 tasks, which will be completed by This will enable the transmission of around MW of electricity and strengthen the energy security of the regions of Mazuria and Podlasie in Poland.
The implementation of investment tasks needed to ensure energy security for the UEFA Euro football tournament was a big challenge because of time pressure. We have started to successfully introduce new mechanisms improving the secure balancing of the power system. The first agreement on negawatt power has been signed. Negawatt power means an amount of electricity conserved by the consumer, who - on request from the OSP — does not use it. As a rule, the demand reduction service to prevent a power system failure will be used only in exceptional situations.
The measures we have taken are an element of a broader concept of implementing in Poland demand management mechanisms. Another measure we have taken to improve the balance of electricity supply and demand in Poland is the interventional non-spinning reserve. It is composed of generating units which were initially planned to be shut down by because of increasingly stringent pollution emissions standards. The units will be connected to the system only at a time of power shortage on request from the OSP.
As a result of the tender process conducted in December and January , the OSP has acquired the first part of the non-spinning reserve from power stations operated by the PGE and Tauron companies - around MW in total. It is the first certificate of this kind granted to a Polish company operating in the power sector. Pogroszew, April 24, To conclude, I would like to ask you about some examples of your spectacular successes when it comes to energy security. Could you name one of them?
Among the numerous tasks important from the point of view of energy security that we have carried out, it is worth mentioning the National Power System Simulator. Launched in September , the simulator is one of the most modern training centres for OSP services and distribution system operators.
Its launch was a big achievement, enhancing the security of the system and enabling constant staff training.
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