Polish heavy industry has great opportunities for development, e.g., in innovative technologies, but at the same time there are some big challenges related to climate policy – said the participants of the discussion, which took place as part of the Development Vision Forum in Gdynia.
Tomasz Heryszek, President of Węglokoks emphasized the key role of heavy industry for the economy of many countries, as a powerful donor of jobs and money for the public finance system. He also pointed out that Węglokoks intended to accelerate several processes by developing metallurgical processing and moving away from mining.
According to Heryszek, it is the development of metallurgy that is worth betting on in the context of both the energy transition and the country’s large infrastructure needs. At the same time, the President of Węglokoks called for systemic protection of heavy industry as a strategic sector of the economy.
Adam Gawęda, MEP, recalled the countries that were most successful in protecting themselves from crises precisely because of the high share of heavy industry in the economy. He also called for solutions to improve efficiency, including the development of modern technologies (such as hydrogen production and energy storage).
Adam Bugajczuk, Vice President of KGHM Polska Miedź talked about some optimisation processes and investments, which the company has made in recent years to adapt its operating model as one of the largest consumers of electricity in Poland to the new realities.
At the same time, Bugajczuk expressed his belief that the Polish heavy industry would cope with the challenges posed by the energy transformation and climate policy. According to the Vice President of KGHM, sustainable development is currently the most important thing, which can be exemplified by the smelting industry moving towards a closed-cycle economy model.
Paweł Kolczyński, Vice-President of the Management Board of the Industrial Development Agency assessed that while the energy transformation is practically inevitable, it will generate completely new development areas. That is why IDA is already trying to establish itself in the industries that are associated with this new outlook. He cited hydrogen production as an example.
According to Kolczyński, the issue of green energy is becoming increasingly crucial also for large investors. Therefore, juxtaposed with the trend of shortening supply chains, the Polish economy has a chance to use the energy transition to build heavy industry in a new attractive edition.
Patryk Darowski, Director of the Analysis and Sector Support Department at Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, talked about the financial dimension of the energy transformation and the opportunities for heavy industry in Poland. He mentioned several investment programs that support the development of innovative sectors.
Darowski also argued in favour of the “3W concept” (Polish abbreviation for – water, hydrogen, coal, editor’s note) announced on the occasion of the Development Vision Forum. The idea is not only to build awareness among the public on the daily choices affecting the economy but also to connect the world of science with the world of business to develop concrete solutions.