Energy Industry Employee’s Day in Poland Date in the current year: August 14, 2024

Energy Industry Employee’s Day in Poland Energy Industry Employee’s Day (Dzień Energetyka), sometimes translated as Power Engineer’s Day, is celebrated in Poland on August 14 every year. It was created to celebrate the contribution of all people working in the country’s energy industry.

The history of Energy Industry Employee’s Day in Poland dates back to 1956. It was originally celebrated on September 1, but in 1973, the Council of Ministers moved the celebration to the first Sunday of September. Finally, in 1991, the date was moved once again to coincide with the feast day of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, who is regarded as the patron saint of power engineers in Poland.

Kolbe was a Polish Catholic priest, Conventual Franciscan friar and missionary who was active during the first half of the 20th century. In 1927, he founded the Niepokalanów monastery in Teresin, a village near Warsaw. After the outbreak of World War II, Kolbe refused to leave the monastery and organized a temporary hospital there. He and other friars also provided shelter to refugees, including Jews fleeing German persecution.

In 1941, the German authorities shut down the monastery and arrested Kolbe and other friars. Several months after his arrest, he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. In late July, a prisoner went missing from the camp, and deputy camp commandant Karl Fritzsch sentenced ten of the remaining prisoners to immurement. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of one of them.

After two weeks of starvation, Kolbe was one of the few prisoners to remain alive (according to some of the accounts, the only one). He was killed by a lethal injection of phenol on August 14, 1941. Kolbe was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1971 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982. In 1991, he was recognized as the patron saint of energy workers because he used to be an amateur physicist, engineer, and radio operator.

Poland has the fourth largest energy sector in Europe. The country’s energy mix is dominated by hard coal and brown coal (lignite), but there are plans to phase out coal by 2049 due to coal extraction being increasingly difficult and expensive, as well as its impact on public health and the environment. As of 2018, 13% of electricity produced in Poland came from renewable sources (primarily wind power) and 7% from natural gas.

Poland currently has no nuclear power plants and operates a single nuclear research reactor, Maria. There are plans to start the construction of three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in Choczewo in 2026, as well as to build a number of smaller nuclear reactors. Poland also intends to expand its renewable energy in accordance with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive 2018. In addition to wind power, renewable energy sources in Poland include biomass and waste, hydroelectric power, and solar power.

Poland’s energy industry still has a long way to go, since it relies too much on fossil fuels and has one of the lowest percentages of energy from renewable sources in the European Union. However, it is slowly but surely getting there, in big part thanks to dedicated energy industry employees who work hard to implement the necessary changes and definitely deserve to be celebrated.

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Energy Industry Employee’s Day in Poland, holidays in Poland, professional observances, Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe