Marcin Idzik: Energy security cannot be achieved by building “cheap” infrastructure

Ten post dostępny jest także w języku: polski

The infrastructure which will be built based on the new EU budget will be of strategic importance for our energy security in the coming decades. It is in the interest of the Polish state and all market participants to change the law in such a way that the quality of construction and safety of these facilities will be at least as important as their price – convinces Marcin Idzik, President of IDS-BUD and DIM Construction.

Under the EU budget agreed in July and finally approved in December last year, as well as the so-called reconstruction fund, Poland will receive a record amount of approx. 770 billion PLN over the next seven years. Part of the adopted financial framework are funds earmarked for the so-called energy transformation, considered by the European Commission as one of the pillars of the strategy to revive the community economies after the end of the coronavirus pandemic. Poland will account for over one-third of the funds planned for this purpose.

Somewhat in the shadow of political discussions and controversies related to the adoption of the European budget, the decision was taken to increase the EU’s CO2 emission reduction target from the current 40% to at least 55%. This means that the EU has already embarked on a real – and not only declarative – path towards achieving climate neutrality in 2050. The acceleration of decarbonisation and even greater mobilisation for a green turnaround may also have a significant impact on those industries that have so far had relatively little involvement in meeting climate policy targets.

We can therefore be almost certain that Poland will remain a major construction site in the next decade. However, the priorities will change – and they will change significantly – and with them the nature of the investment projects that will be carried out with European money. In order to achieve the energy objectives set by the Community, it is necessary to develop a complex infrastructure based on renewable energy sources, the share of which in the production of electricity is to double by 2030, reaching the level of 60% in the entire EU. This means almost a revolution – not only for the Polish energy sector, but also for the entire domestic construction and technological sector.

We all know the stories of the ancient builders of bridges, castles and fortresses, who were condemned to death by their rulers after completing their tasks. Under no circumstances could the unique knowledge they acquired during construction fall into enemy hands. Although these stories seem cruel to us today, there is a hidden wisdom in them, stemming from a concern for the strategic interests of the state. We all need a similar reflection today. The infrastructure that will be built in Poland in the next decade will define the level of our energy security for generations to come. With the support of algorithms and artificial intelligence, much of this infrastructure will be able to process vast amounts of sensitive data. Can we as a country afford to have access codes to this data written in foreign alphabets?

Before we embark on new energy and infrastructure priorities, we should therefore rethink our legal environment. The examples of Germany and France show that, while maintaining the EU’s rules on the free movement of people and services, it is possible to effectively protect domestic markets in key security sectors. These countries have well thought-out procurement regulations, developed over many years, complemented by certification schemes for specific sectors and labour markets. The result is a high level of protection against general contractors and subcontractors who, by offering low prices, are unable to guarantee the required quality and safety of the facilities in terms of the state’s strategic interests.

Although the next budget perspective has already begun, it is not too late to introduce similar regulations in Poland as well. The aim is not at all protectionist, but to maintain a level playing field for all participants in the single European market. As a national construction industry, we have repeatedly demonstrated that we possess unique competences and access to modern technologies. It is time that the legal environment equally promoted the quality of execution and safety of strategically important objects, and not just a seemingly low price. Otherwise, the real price of ‘cheap’ energy infrastructure will be borne by all of us for decades to come.

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Marcin Idzik is a manager with many years of experience in the construction, energy and defence industries, as well as in public administration. He has been with the IDS-BUD group since 2018, initially as Export Director and then as President of DIM Construction – a technology and engineering company that carries out specialised construction works based on its own equipment and personnel resources. Since November 2020, he combines the position of president of IDS-BUD with his duties as president of DIM Construction and DIM Serwis.

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