Energy Not only for energy security
Poland - Even though securing the country’s energy security is cited as the most important argument for its planned energy investments, it surely is not the only one. The others are environmental protection, increased competitiveness on international markets, new jobs and increased GDP growth.
Being implemented gradually by Beata Szydło’s government, Poland’s energy strategy is based on two main premises. The first one is the country’s energy security, the second – widely defined competitiveness and progressiveness. Energy security primarily means the full or as big as possible, independence of the Polish economy from foreign supplies of raw materials, the optimal usage of its own natural resources in accordance with the concept of sustainable development, development of renewable sources of energy as well as the support for investments that should have long-term benefits.
Taking advantage of raw materials, which up to now, has only been used to a small extent or not at all and discovering the new possibilities to use the assets. An example could be the planned heating network and co-generation – using the same unit of fuel to produce heat and electricity doubles the effect. An equally important condition for the implementation of Poland’s energy strategy, which at the same time, ensures energy security, is investing in new technologies. Without such solutions, the optimal usage of the country's natural raw materials may prove impossible. What is more, the Polish energy sector’s reliance on modern technology will make it safer and its prices more competitive, provide employment for qualified personnel and also be less damaging to the environment.
The last argument, which might be the most important one, and particularly important in winter (happening for the second year in a row) is that Polish cities are struggling with the problem of smog. Heating residential buildings (but not only) using solid fuels, mainly coal, has a negative impact on the environment. However, without the further development of heating networks, limiting the so-called low emission might turn out to be impossible.
Implemented and future investments
Viewed in the framework of new energy blocks, it is visible that there is a lot going on in the Polish energy sector. Should the investments planned for completion this year be completed on time, 7 new objects totaling 2440 MW will be added to the country's asset list (the value of those investments is approximately €2.07 bn). Subsequent projects are also being implemented, so by the end of this decade, a further six large energy undertakings should be completed, and thus the total power of all the new blocks would increase by 6100 MW. This is not the end, though more investments await the green light – while some have already been accepted and others stay in suspense.
Along with investing in new energy blocks, it is necessary to modernise the existing transmission network and building new ones. Without investing in modern lines, the reliable transmission of power from the new blocks might turn out to be impossible, which would mean that the investments planned by the end of 2020, totaling approximately €6.7 bn would not fully live up to the hopes placed in them. To avoid this scenario, development of the existing transmission network is planned. The Parliament received the project of amendment of the special act that assumes the implementation of 5 new transmission undertakings.
There is still a question mark over the Polish nuclear energy programme. At the beginning of February this year, the Ministry of Energy presented conclusions of the report entitled “The influence of nuclear programme on the Polish economy. Benefits on the national economic level”, in which one can read about many benefits of introducing the nuclear programme, and not only for the energy sector but for the whole economy. The programme itself, however, still remains one big unknown. There have already been discussions on the development of nuclear energy as an alternative to coal since the previous century. However, the concept still lacks a cohesive functioning model, sources of financing a nuclear power station are unknown and above all, despite carrying out numerous professional evaluations, the place where this power station would be located is yet to be determined.
Maybe, as a result, the future of the Polish energy sector will be dominated by energy storehouses. The first object of this type was created in Poland at the end of last year near Puck in Pomorze. Lo-cated in the close vicinity of wind farms and planned photovoltaic farms, a bio-gas plant and end consumers. The industrial energy storehouse is still a testing object where the possibilities for the provision of electricity will be verified. Should the tests be successful, such a storehouse might be a cutting-edge element, increasing the country’s security and energy effectiveness.
The aspects mentioned above for the energy strategy carried out are only a fragment of the Polish energy sector. There is still a lot of challenges ahead, such as the power market, electro-mobility, new investments in generating powers, and the development of dispersed energy sector or finding the optimal functioning model for renewable sources of energy.
This article appeared in www.maschinenmarkt.international.