Insights and Opportunities
Overview: Poland has very favorable technical and economical factors for renewable energy. Since 2004 Poland has begun to experience a shift of political and public support away from traditional fossil fuels and toward the development of renewable energy resources. Poland has established a target of 10.4 percent of energy production from renewable sources by 2010, and will continue with this target till 2014. These targets were set forth in the Ministry of Economy regulation of November 3, 2006. Utilities are required to purchase electricity from renewable sources, and prices are regulated by tariffs. Producers of green energy can apply for green certificates that are tradable on global energy stock exchange markets.
Biomass and wind appear to be the most promising renewable energy resources for development in Poland, with an estimated potential of about 4,000 MWe each. Both liquid and solid biomass is considered to be the main sources of renewable energy in Poland, for both electricity and thermal energy production. Biomass technologies and supply sources are relatively mature, and the investment costs are lower than for other maturing renewable energy technologies. 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.
Biomass: Biomass is the most promising source of renewable energy in Poland. The technical potential of biomass amounts to 755 PJ/year. The greatest opportunities for biomass technology implementation are in the forestry, wood processing and agriculture sectors. The majority of current biomass use is for heat. Small and medium scale boilers in industrial settings most commonly use fuel such as 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. Biogas production from landfill gas and municipal waste is also available. In 2006 there were approximately 25 landfill gas installations producing 22.3 GWh of electricity and 100 TJ of heat. Biogas production from municipal waste resulted in about 38 GWh of electricity and 450 TJ of heat. About 47% of the land area of Poland, (approx. 14 million ha), consists of arable and agricultural lands. Nearly 9 million ha is forested, approximately 28%. It is estimated that the total forest cover in Poland will reach 32% in the next 15 years. There are very good opportunities for biomass development in Poland. The areas with the most potential for biomass / biogas projects are those in the northern and western regions, rural and mountainous regions, as well as the eastern border of Belarus.
Wind power: In Poland, wind turbines installed by June 30, 2008 have a combined capacity of around 350 MW. According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Poland is one of the most promising wind energy markets in Europe. The country possesses many potentially profitable locations and great development possibilities. Much of Poland has favorable conditions for wind energy production. The average wind speed varies between 5.5 and 7.0 m/s at a height of 50 meters. The productivity of one 2MW turbine may be equal to as much as 5,000 MWh per year. Poland’s existing wind power capacity includes 188 wind turbines of varying capacity (average capacity = 1.52 MW) installed at nine professional wind power stations. The largest ones are: Tymien – 50 MW – major investor INVEnergy of the USA; Losina – 48 MW – major investor Mutsui and J-Power of Japan; and Kisielice – 40.5 MW – major investor Iberdrola of Spain.
According to investors, the ROI of wind power investments is approximately 10-12 years. This favorable profitability rate is the result of the high price of electric power produced from RES which the market currently supports. When selling 1 MW of power, a wind farm owner can obtain up to $140 MWh. Wind energy projects are strongly supported by the Polish government and the European Union funds. Funds for wind energy projects can be sourced from the 9.4 activity of the Operational Program “Infrastructure and Environment”.
Some of the best products needed are: wood-fired boilers, fluidized-bed boilers and straw-fired boilers; spark ignition engines generating electricity from biogas at waste water treatment plants and from landfill gas; and wind turbines.
Emerging opportunities include: Poland is one of the European Union countries that committed to a 20% reduction of CO2 emission, a 20% goal of renewable energy in the total energy balance, and a 20% increase in the effective use of energy, all by the year 2020. Polish Biomass Chamber together with local governments and under auspices of the Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Economy promotes the national program “Biogas 2020” which aims at reaching 2000 MW of electric power by the year 2020 within scattered cogeneration. Within the framework of this program Poland targets to build and install 2020 agricultural biogas facilities with capacity of 0.5-2.0 MW by the year 2020. Each community should have such a facility. Necessary acreage of biomass needed is approx. 800 thousand hectares and the value of the program and is estimated at €3 – 6 billion. This program will create about 10,000 new jobs at those facilities as well as 40,000 – 60,000 new jobs in farming. Government plans for 2010 are to reach a total installed generating capacity in wind power equal to the MW level of 2000. This level would give the wind power sector an approximately 2.3% share of Poland’s total electricity consumption. In order to achieve these targets, Poland must install 1600 MW of new wind power capacity in 2009 and 2010. Projects now underway will generate an additional 300 MW.