The transformation requires different energy sources and storage

Luc Williams

The Polish energy sector is undergoing a profound transformation as the share of conventional coal-based energy is reduced in favor of renewable energy. The latter provided over 25% in 2023. annual national electricity production. There will be more in the coming years. Energy companies are focusing on this direction, and the government plans to involve prosumers even more in the development of renewable energy.

– Renewable energy is our future. We are already the leader in this market. We have 21 wind farms, 29 hydroelectric power plants, 4 pumped storage power plants and 39 photovoltaic farms. The total installed capacity of all facilities is 2.5 thousand. MW – said Marcin Laskowski, vice-president of the management board for regulation of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, during the discussion panel “Renewable energy sources”.

He added that the company's plans include the development of offshore wind energy, which will be of great importance for Poland's energy security, becoming one of the pillars of the transformation. Currently, the company is preparing to build the first farms in the Baltic Sea, in cooperation with the Danish concern Ørsted. The first stage, with a capacity of 1.5 GW, is to be ready by 2027, and the second one, with a capacity of 1 GW, by 2029.

– Our ambitions are greater. That is why we are planning further investments, said Marcin Laskowski, emphasizing that the Baltic Sea has great offshore potential because, due to its windiness and depth, it has good conditions for the construction of offshore wind farms.

However, changes are needed to increase the pace of development.

– We are currently struggling with complicated administrative procedures. We hope to build common corridors bringing the power obtained from wind farms to land or sharing the costs of building connections, which are very high and will translate into the final energy price – explained the vice-president of PGE, also drawing attention to the need for quick implementation of the RED III directive on renewable energy sources.

Michał Orłowski, vice-president of the management board for asset management and development of Tauron Polska Energia, announced the construction of new renewable energy installations with a total capacity of 360 MW, photovoltaic and wind farms. They will be ready in 2025 at the latest.

Łukasz Tomaszewski, director of the department of renewable energy sources at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, emphasized that the ministry focuses on all technologies. He recalled that in 2023, a support system for biomethane plants was created and will be developed. Today, it covers installations up to 1 MW.

The panelists agreed that there is no turning back from renewable energy sources, but building an energy system based on them poses challenges. Especially when a significant part of renewable energy production depends on the availability of wind or solar. This may cause its deficiency or excess at certain times.

– It is therefore necessary to ensure the security of energy supplies for all consumers. Without system stability, further development of green energy will not be possible. Therefore, the distribution and transmission networks are crucial for the development of renewable energy sources. The EU also sees the need to develop it. That is why more and more money is flowing for this purpose from structural funds – noted Marcin Laskowski, noting that the network is also undergoing transformation. It has gone from being one-way to being two-way when it comes to energy flow.

It is necessary to create an appropriate balancing system – in particular energy storage facilities. There are many possibilities today. Lithium-ion or flow technologies are available, consisting of two tanks containing salt solutions.

As the discussion participants emphasized, the construction of warehouses is becoming an increasingly profitable investment and its costs are falling. This is why they are needed in the system. However, it is not worth focusing on their construction in one technology, different technologies should be combined. – We focus on warehouses. We are working on a battery energy storage facility at the Żarnowiec Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant, with a capacity of over 200 MW. It will ensure sustainable access to energy in periods of increased demand, increase the possibilities of stabilizing the National Power System and facilitate integration with the power system of renewable energy sources located in northern Poland, especially the planned offshore wind farms – said Marcin Laskowski.

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