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Renewable Energy in Poland (Wind,Biomass) in Brief – Increasing with Huge Prospects due to 90% Dependence on Coal

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Poland resiting EU mandate to shift from Dirty Coal to Green Energy Sources

Poland is one of the largest countries in Europe to have such a high dependence on Coal Energy to meet its Electricity Needs.Note European Union has a target to meet 20% of its Energy by 2020 from Renewable Energy sources which has mad the fossil fuel dependent Eastern European countries looks towards Wind,Solar and Biomass Energy.Note Eastern European countries like Romania have seen a boom in wind energy driven by incorrect Green Energy subsidy policies while the Solar Boom in Czech led to a drastic increase in electricity prices forcing the government to Bust it with a combination of FIT cuts,tax increases and strict regulation.Poland which is the largest Eastern European country in the EU has traditionally depended on Coal to meet most of its Energy Needs.Despite the major disadvantages of Coal,Poland has resisted reducing the support given to the Thermal Power Industry.The cheapness and abundance of Coal has made it hard for Poland to shift its Energy Policy like other Coal dependent nations like South Africa,China and India.

Poland Renewable Energy Target

Poland  has established a target of 7.5 percent of energy production from renewable sources by 2010, and 15% by 2020.  However, these targets have not yet been enforced, discouraging large scale renewable development.  Even so, the aggressive targets combined with strong economic growth provide a healthy investment atmosphere for renewable energy developers.   Utilities are required to purchase electricity from renewable sources, although prices are not regulated by tariffs.The Energy Act of April 2007 states that all energy companies selling electricity to end users have to obtain and present a specified number of renewable energy certificates or pay a substitution charge.

Solid biomass had the highest share in renewable energy production in 2008. It amounted to nearly 87% of the total domestic production of energy from renewable sources. Liquid biofuels were the next largest carrier in primary energy production from renewable sources (5.4%), followed by water (3.4%), biogas (2.4%) and wind (1.3%). Heat pumps, geothermal energy, solar radiation and energy from municipal waste were less significant in the total balance.

Renewable Energy in Poland Increasing with Wind and Biomass Energy

Biomass and wind appear to be the most promising renewable energy resources for development in Poland, with an estimated potential of about 4,000 MW each.

Wind Energy in Poland

Poland also has some of the best documented wind resources in Central and Eastern Europe with areas reaching up to 1,000 W/m2 in power density. Poland has started to increase its Renewable Energy Industry with 460 MW of Wind Energy installed in 2010 .Poland is set to install around 500 MW of Wind Energy this Year.Poland had 1,005 MW of installed capacity for wind-generated power in the middle of 2010.

The Polish Wind Energy Association predicts very dynamic growth of installed capacity in the wind power sector, amounting to about 13 GW in 20203). The figure comprises almost 11 GW of onshore wind farms, 1.5 GW in offshore wind and 600 MW of small wind.

Biomass Energy in Poland

Thermal Power Plant are being  converted into a Biomass Power Plants because Biomass Energy has a number of advantages over Coal Energy.Both liquid and solid biomass are considered to be the main sources of renewable energy in Poland, for both electricity and thermal energy production.  Currently, biomass is mainly used as heat in small and medium scale boilers in industrial settings. Common fuel is wood pieces, sawdust, and wood shavings. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants using organic waste from pulp and paper operations, and straw and wood fired heating plants are also in operation.

The amount of electricity generated from biomass between 2006 and 2008 increased nearly twofold – from 1818 GWh to 3267 GWh. A large part of it was generated in co-combustion processes (84% in 2008). Also the amount of electricity produced from biogas increased almost twice during the three analysed years, from 117 GWh in 2006 to 221 GWh in 2008. Over half of this was generated from landfill biogas (63% in 2008), one third from biogas produced in sewage treatment facilities and the remaining small part was generated in the agricultural sector (4% in 2008).

French energy company GDF-Suez plans to convert a 225 MW Coal powered Plant will be converted into a biomass powered plant making it one of the biggest biomass plants in the world,The 205 MW Biomass power plant in Polaniec, south-eastern Poland will use about 1 million tonnes of biomass a year.GDF is also interested in purchasing assets from Sweden’s Vattenfall. The latter company intends to leave the Polish market by selling its major holdings there.Poland’s second-largest utility, Tauron, has taken a z?.30 million loan to help it finance the conversion of its coal-fired power plant in Tychy so that it can burn biomass instead.Note Pure Play Biomass Companies are difficult to invest in as Biomass Power Plants are built by the utilities.

Electricity in Poland

Polish power generation system is the largest in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of capacity.Poland has around 3 GW of Total Electricity Capacity with 90% coming form Thermal Power .It also has around 2 GW of Renewable Energy Capacity. Household electricity prices have increased by 32% since 2004, but they remain about 14% below the EU-15 and  EU-25 averages. Prices for industrial customers are about 28% below the European averages The power system is very fragmented, with nearly 400 power plants.Solar and Hydro Energy Resources in not well developed in Poland though a few companies have started to manufacture solar energy products in the country.

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Abhishek Shah

7 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Josh

    What will be really important to truly make renewable energy competitive with fossil fuels are two things:

    1) First, pricing that is at least within range of being competitive.

    2) Second, a Government mandate on alternatives, like the one in the EU. Another interesting place with a similar manadate is Australia. The State of Queensland in Australia is taking a particularly aggressive approach to developing renewable energy. Our company GreenWorld has a project in Queensland to convert oil from a tree called Millettia into electricity and other green by-products.


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