March 19 (UPI) -- Poland, which relies heavily on Russia as an energy supplier, lacks connections with the rest of Europe and is behind the curve on renewables, the OECD said.
Polish Oil and Gas Co., known commonly as PGNiG, has started trying to book capacity on a planned natural gas pipeline linking Poland to Norway, which could go into service in 2022. Norway is one of the main suppliers of natural gas to the European market, though Poland still gets almost all of its gas from Russia.
An economic survey of Poland published Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the country needs to establish better gas and electricity links with its neighbors and improve legislation that would facilitate more investments in renewable energy.
Legislation passed in 2016 created obstacles for onshore wind, costs are already high and the country is coping with high levels of pollution.
"Renewable energy generation had grown rapidly until 2015, but over 80 percent consists of biomass, whose burning has worse effects on air pollution than the gas it replaced," the OECD report read.
A February survey conducted for the Polish government found more than 90 percent of the respondents felt the country could improve its energy security by leaning toward other major suppliers like Norway. Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski added that expanding access to liquefied natural gas was another avenue for energy security.
Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in January the United States has the tools necessary to improve Poland's energy security. PGNiG has a five-year contract to secure LNG from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, the first mid-term contract of its kind.
OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi said Poland is in a good position to make energy sector and economic strides and the government needs to capitalize on the momentum.
"The time is ripe to ensure that living standards continue to rise," he said in a statement. "Strengthening innovation, improving infrastructure and investing in skills will be crucial."