Document Type : Research Article


1 Institute of Computer Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.

2 Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland.


The issue of renewable energy is an important one in Poland. The Polish economy heavily relies on coal. Polish cities are among the most polluted in Europe. Therefore, there is a considerable societal support for renewable energy projects. Some people, however, keep having objections, e.g. to windfarms. This paper analyzes social costs and benefits identified by representatives of municipalities in whose territories renewable energy investments have been carried out and by representatives of companies investing in renewable energy projects. The data come from a series of surveys conducted in the period of 2013-18. It has been found out that municipalities and companies significantly differ in their identification of the key social costs and benefits related to renewable energy projects. They are alike in one aspect: such problems like climate change, global warming, energy security, air pollution, energy diversification, etc. are replaced in their thinking by more parochial concerns of land price shifts, social tensions, and others. The article finishes with discussion of reasons explaining why the Poles declare to be staunchly pro-environmental in general and at the same time turn out to be benefit-seeking when asked about particular solutions.


Main Subjects

1.     Balcer, A., Buras, P., Gromadzki, G. and Smolar, E., "Polish views of the EU: The illusion of consensus", Stefan Batory Foundation, Warsaw, (2017, accessed March 22, 2020), 5. (

2.     Stokes, B., Wike, R. and Manevich. D., "Post-Brexit, Europeans more favorable toward EU", Pew Research Center, (2017, accessed March 22, 2020), 3. (

3.     Cichocki, P., "Polish attitudes towards the European union", Prezegląd Zachodni, No 3, (2011, accessed March 22, 2020), 265-277. (,pobierz,811,b2deca2b26e72619a96003b28ed90e2f/9-13.%20Cichocki.pdf).

4.     "Turnout increased in other countries of the European Union too. Across the EU it was the highest turnout in 20 years and the first time since the first direct elections in 1979 that turnout rose", Source: The European Parliament, (accessed March 9, 2020). (

5.     Karolewski, I.P. and Wilga, M., "Call Poland a troublemaker in the EU and a country punching above its own weight, Poland and the European Union", Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, (2018), 1-42. (

6.     Wojciechowska-Solis, J. and Soroka, A., "Polish society in the light of the use of renewable energy sources", Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, Vol 16, No. 1, (2018), 893-901. (

7.     Jankowska, K., Poland’s clash over energy and climate policy: Green economy or grey status quo?, The European union in international climate change politics: Still taking a lead?, Chapter 10, Wurzel, R.K.W., Connelly, J. and Liefferink, D. eds., Routledge, London, UK and New York, NY, USA, (2017), 145-158.

8.     "Renewable energy progress report", Report from the commission to the European parliament, The council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions, Brussels, (2019, accessed March 22, 2020). (

9.     "Energy policy of Poland until 2040", The Ministry of Energy, (2018, accessed March 22, 2020). (

10.   Ptak, M., "Public support for renewable energy in Poland", Economic and Environmental Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, (2017), 707-724. (

11.   Barbiroglio, E., "It is worth mentioning that the COP24 UN climate summit was held in Katowice in 2018 and it was the third summit organized in Poland. Also Poland is one of the most polluted countries in the European union, Europe’s 100 most polluted cities", Forbes, (February 2020, accessed on March 22, 2020). (

12.   Mishan, E.J. and Quah, E., Cost benefit analysis", 5th Edition, Routledge, (2007).

13.   Lewandowski, M., "Other legal aspects of renewable energy production in Poland, Tax policy and taxation of renewables: Better tax solutions to enhance production of electricity from Renewable sources", Environmental Policy & Law, Vol. 49, Issue 1, (2019), 88-95. (

14.   Ostwald, C., Blackwell, D., Stuart, A., McKenzie, R. and Yeung, B., "The decrease of land prices nearby RE installations is still a moot point, Review of the impact of wind farms on property values", Urbis, (2016, accessed March 22, 2020). (

15.   Simmons, R.A., Coyle, E.D. and Chapman, B., On global energy perspectives and climate change policies, Understanding the global energy crisis, Purdue University Press, (2014).

16.   Wustenhagen, R., Wolsink, M. and Burer, M.J., "Social acceptance of renewable energy innovation: An introduction to the concept", Energy Policy, Vol. 35, (2007), 2683-2691. (

17.   Stigka, E.K., Paravantis, J.A. and Mihalakakou, G.K., "Social acceptance of renewable energy sources: A review of contingent valuation applications", Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 32, (2014), 100-106. (

18.   Breitschopf, B., Held, A. and Resch, G., "A concept to assess the costs and benefits of renewable energy use and distributional effects among actors: The example of Germany", Energy & Environment, Vol. 27, No. 1, (2016), 55-81. (

19.   Brodny, J., Tutak, M. and Saki, S.A., "Forecasting the structure of energy production from renewable energy sources and biofuels in Poland", Energies, Vol. 13, Issue 10, (2020), 25-39. (

20.   Wójcik, A. "Share of renewable energy in Poland compared to EU countries", Scientific Papers of Silesian University of Technology- Organization & Management Series, Issue 139, (2019), 607-619. (

21.   Kajánek, T., "The future of coal-fired power plants in Poland and Slovakia", Geopolitics of Energy, Vol. 42, Issue 4, (2020), 20-27. (