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Poland Warms Up to US for Energy

a white swan on a beach with steam coming from the plant in the background
Poland mostly relies on coal for power, but aims to build nuclear plants in the next decade. Seen here, the Belchatow Power Station in Rogowiec, Poland. (Getty Images)

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz By Monday, 05 December 2022 09:12 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Poland has been pursuing energy independence on many fronts, including in partnership with the U.S. The Poles have every right to gloat as they had warned about Russia’s ill-intentions long before the invasion of Ukraine and the attendant Russian energy war against the West.

First, the Warsaw-conceived Baltic Pipe has been pumping gas from Norway via Denmark to Poland and further afield. Appropriate measures have been taken to protect it from sabotage in the wake of the blowing up of the Nordstream 2 underwater energy connector.

Second, the Law and Justice (PiS) Polish government bent over backwards courting the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations, respectively, to pursue an Intermarium, lands between Baltic and Black seas, energy strategy. The idea was to set up energy hubs in Poland, Croatia, and Bulgaria to be supplied with American LNG. The U.S. would make money and provide Europe with energy security via the Intermarium.

For Donald Trump, it was a win-win proposition and he devoted himself to it with gusto. Joe Biden scuttled the project. Initially, he supported its opposite: Russia’s NS-2, which would have sealed Moscow’s domination of Germany in particular, and Western Europe in general.

The White House changed its mind somewhat after the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Warsaw has pushed ahead with its plan to build nuclear power plants in Poland. The Poles selected a U.S. company, Westinghouse, to do the honors, along with the Bechtel Corporation. This is a strategic choice.

Just like the Polish preference for weapons made in the USA, doing business with American companies is a conscious choice to strengthen the trans-Atlantic partnership.

Formally, Poland is a part of the EU and it is expected to choose western European partners. Instead, the Poles have favored Westinghouse.

Although the deal is inked, there are still technical problems. The location of the future plant has been agreed upon, but there are snags concerning financing.

The price tag is about $25 billion USD. The Polish side would like the Americans to own about 50% of the enterprise. Westinghouse prefers to keep a low stake of 10%.

The chief reason the Poles insist is that if there is an American-owned plant in Poland, the U.S. company will lobby to protect it from a foreign invasion. Warsaw sees the deal a double guarantee: NATO and American capital helping to protect Poland.

Nonetheless, the Poles have also reached out to South Korea and France for future projects in the field of nuclear energy. The more the merrier.

Nuclear power remains in favor in the Intermarium also among the Hungarians. Just recently, a European court dismissed Austria’s suit against Budapest’s nuclear plant. So the construction of the installation by the Danube is a go.

In addition to procuring oil and gas from Russia, Budapest diversifies its energy from inefficient solar through polluting coal to safe nuclear, despite threats from Brussels.

At any rate, in the EU the Poles have been staunchest advocates of nuclear power, which is the safest source of energy as a reformed American progressive advocate for sanity Michael Shellenberger and others have argued.

The importance of the emergence of such sane arguments in support of nuclear power cannot be understated. Western Europeans have an atom phobia brought about from Soviet propaganda and infiltration during the Cold War.

Next, the European Union swears by the Green cult, allegedly “to save the planet,” which, instead, is the simplest way to destroy our civilization in congruence with the sick fantasies of the Extinction Rebellion and other such antinomian, gnostic cults, and one of them happens to be a coalition partner in Germany’s government.

Their sway over the Western imagination, the kids in particular, is so powerful that otherwise sane nations have all but foresworn nuclear power.

In western Europe, chiefly the French have been holding out with their nuclear power but their resolve has been steadily undermined by ideological fads.

In the most egregious case of shooting oneself on one’s foot, Germany planned to shut down all of its nuclear plants in December 2022. Now it will keep a couple of them running until April 2023.

The change of mind came about only because of Moscow’s energy war on Europe. Whether sanity prevails in the long run is anyone’s guess but the ideological green-orange-red profile of the current coalition government in Berlin does not augur well for energy moderation and pragmatism.

Come winter, even the Germans may be singing to a different tune, however. Perhaps some will come to warm themselves up in Poland.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.

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Poland has been pursuing energy independence on many fronts, including in partnership with the U.S.
poland, energy, united states
Monday, 05 December 2022 09:12 AM
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