The President's speech at the inauguration of the Polish-Australian Energy Forum
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is a great pleasure and honour to be here with you today and to be able to open the Polish-Australian Energy Forum. I would like to congratulate the organizers on this important event highlighting the Polish-Australian cooperation in the energy sector.
In my short opening speech, I want to draw your attention to a couple of issues: energy security and energy sustainability. The first one is an all-round concept and often serves as an umbrella term for various, but related, aspects of an energy policy. I believe that the easiest way to define energy security is to say that it is self-sufficiency and diversification. Energy sustainability, in my view, should be seen as low-cost efficient energy combined with low carbon emissions. With that in mind, we need to concentrate on the future. In our discussions we should be able to merge two dimensions: that of efficiency and that of responsibility, that is to do our utmost to protect our natural environment and make sure we pass it on to future generations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is no secret that the Polish energy sector centers around coal. The growing production of coal was correlated with the development of transportation systems, industrialization and urbanization. These processes, in turn, led to the transformation of the economic and social structures. And it is why the mining sector has been seen as the key engine and guarantor of Polish prosperity and energy security.
Having said that, we are perfectly aware of the fact that just as much as industrialization accounted for much of the economic growth in the 18th and 19th centuries, the technological transformation and innovation of our days will be a critical element of longer-term energy security, as we move to a carbon limited future. It will also drive the new wave of increased productivity and economic prosperity.
The Polish energy sector is going through one of the most intense periods of change we have ever experienced. Through our diversification efforts, Poland now imports large quantities of LNG through our terminal in Świnoujście. We are also building a gasline – Baltic Pipe – which will carry gas from Norwegian shelves. We aim at becoming an energy hub for the region of Eastern and Central Europe, as part of the Three Seas Initiative. An important aspect in these efforts should involve the use of modern technologies: starting from the exploration, to mining, to the processing of coal. The same goes also for the use of natural gas.
We recognize that Australia represents similar aspirations and is highly motivated to place its energy sector in the “pole position” to benefit from the increased demand for energy resources and to ensure its own energy security. Poland and Polish companies are ready to offer competitive services and mining machines to Australia, and in turn to open up to cooperation in energy projects in our country.
Polish companies – and some of the biggest ones are represented in high numbers here today – are working hard to join the group of the world leaders in developing competitive energy technologies. They have come here in order to match up with Australian partners, to share the knowledge and expertise. Some of them are about to sign agreements with their Australian partners. Others are keen to develop new business partnerships. These companies are here because they highly value the Australian global experience and technological advancements in the energy sector.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In order to build sustainable and resilient societies, we cannot compromise our environment. Energy lies at the heart of the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Therefore, promoting strong environmental performance of our energy and resources sectors is our shared task. It is also one of the reasons why the upcoming UN Climate Summit (COP24), held in Katowice later this year, will be a major step in this regard. It is also worth noting that the venue of COP – Katowice – is where the majority of Poland’s coal production takes place. But it is also a great example of what can be achieved through consistent and patient policy of economic transformation on the one hand, and sustainable development and smart energy policy on the other.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I believe that Polish and Australian companies have the capacity to help develop new innovative solutions, and provide new attractive investment destinations and opportunities. I also believe that our investments and trade in the energy sector will be an important element of our growing partnership.
To conclude, I hope today’s event will be a great opportunity for you to network and connect. I am looking forward to your discussions today and hope that they will foster new business relations between Australia and Poland.