Energy self-sufficiency of Poland - the way of development

Analyzing the energy conditions of Poland, the scope of country’s resources and capabilities leads one to the conclusion that the country can be fully self-sufficient. Indeed, all the energy sources, so far known to humanity, are available here. There are immense coalfields and brown coal deposits in Poland, as well as inspiring amount of oil and natural gas. Some of these resources are already in use, but many of them are still undiscovered. What is important to know about Poland, is that its geographical surface area has appropriate level of insolation and breeziness for wind and solar energy. Another not insignificant issue is the presence of geothermal deposits, which give certain possibilities to produce thermal energy and electricity in an efficient and inexpensive way. Considering that, there are also many mountainous areas in Poland for the development of hydro-power industry.

Despite of the fact that Poland possesses all significant natural resources, the demand of population in this respect is constantly growing. According to the data prepared by Agency of the Energy Market (ARE S.A.) and deputed by Department of Economy, the demand for electricity in Poland will be increasing and in 2030 will probably reach the point of 217,4 TWh. Compared with the last few years, a significant growth can be noticed, which means that Poland has to invest in new production capacity. The increase of demand for energy is – of course – proportionate both to the economic growth and the birth-rate. The buoyant amount of business entities and internal market, including almost 38 million of inhabitants, clearly depict the scale of the predicted growth in energy demand. Here comes the need of modernization of the energy sector in Poland, as to fully use the available potential. There have been several activities taken as far, starting with the development of the gas output its storage, enlargement and development of present industrial networks, ending with the investments into the sector of Renewable Energy Resources - OZE.


Natural gas – import and storage

According to the Department of Economy, a demand for the natural gas in Poland is reaching 14.5 billion of cubic meters yearly. Most of it is usually acquired from other countries – about 121 TWh; only 44.3 TWh of natural gas comes from Polish resources and is rather an addition to the imported energy supplies. Polish internal gas resources represent about 27% of the whole Polish gas supply. The biggest Polish producer and importer of gas is Polish Oil and Gas Company – PGNiG Capital Group. In Poland natural gas is taken from the fields located mostly in the southern and western part of the country (Podkarpacie and western Wielkopolska). Moreover, there are also significant possibilities to produce some shale gas in Poland. Polish Geological Institute estimates the size of Polish resources – with the highest probability – between 346 – 768 billion m3 of gas.

The general import of gas from other countries in 2014 included both import from the East as well as supplies among the communities. The biggest part of Poland’s import comes from Eastern Europe – this process is based on the long-lasting contract between PGNiG S.A. and Gazprom Export. Following this, since the signment of the agreement between the two companies in 1996, Poland has already bought around 90.7 TWh of gas from Russia, which is equal to 75% of the whole import of this raw material to the territory of country. Following that, one can draw the conclusion that thanks to unstoppable progress of Poland, by 2022 it can become fully self-sufficient and independent from Russian gas transfer.In 2014 Storage System Operator (OSM) was realizing its operating functions with the use of already existing and new storage capabilities, which could be considered as a result of building some new storage installations (Kosakowo) and extension of the present ones (PMG Wierzchowice and PMG Strachocina) and KPMG Mogilno, PMG Husów, PMG Swarzów and PMG Brzeźnica. The active capacity of all storage facilities reached 2 524.09 million m3 in 2014.

In 2014 the whole expenditure of natural gas in Poland reached 15 436.22 million m3. Following the forecasts, in the forthcoming years shares of gas in the national energy balance sheet should insignificantly increase. Thanks to the investment into LNG terminal in Świnoujście, Poland can become one of the EU countries, which are the least dependent on gas supply. The terminal, designed for receiving liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Świnoujście, is one of the most important Polish investments in energy business in the last few years; it is also considered by the government as the strategic one for Polish energy security. This investment allows receiving gas by sea from almost any place in the world.

The initial terminal’s ability of regasification will reach 5 billion m3, which is responsible for one-third of Polish demand for gas. There is a possibility to extend the power of terminal to 7.5 billion m3 yearly. Polish LNG and Tractebel Engineering company concluded an agreement, which target the elaboration of the feasibilities for the development of terminal. The terminal in Świnoujście will be the only this-type installation in Northern and East-Central Europe, what is more – one of the biggest ones in the whole Europe. Currently, there are 22 active LNG terminals in Europe.


Energy transfer – intelligent electricity networks

Poland – as well as the other European countries – has to face the dangers, which come as a result of energy resources’ shortage and low efficiency of its production, transfer, division and use. In a way, reality forces the market to create a need to introduce the new quality into electricity networks. Preparing intelligent systems of energy’s delivery is widely-known as “smart grids”. In general, this term means “supplying electricity – or electricity services – to the customers with use of IT means, which allow reducing the costs and enlarging efficiency, as well as integrating scattered resources of energy, also renewable one.” Another definition says: Smart grid - is an intelligent network or electricity network; there is wide communication between the participants of the energy market, which leads to supply electrical services, combined with shortening the costs and increasing efficiency as well as integrating dispersed resources of energy, including resources of renewable energy. Satisfying all of these demands is connected with modernization of present electrical network and optimization of its elements. Tweaking the standards has been lasting for five years; for example – European Commission has empanelled a special team, which works are destined for 2010-2020.

Nevertheless, intelligent electrical networks, which provide communication between all the members of the market, require also Intelligent Measurement Systems (Smart Metering – SM) – electronic system, which measures energy use, providing users with even more information than a conventional counter. SM can also send and receive precise data with the use of electronic connectedness. These systems include intelligent counters of electrical energy used by customers, telecommunication infrastructure, central base of data and managing system. Smart Metering systems constitute a part of intelligent electrical network and should not be considered separately. Intelligent Measurement Systems enable real-time, two-dimensional communication of information system with electronic counters of electrical energy. What is more, they are able to automate the procedure of cost allocation, by receiving the measuring data through its processing and aggregation. In order to achieve the best possible quality of information flow, the technological process should be based on Cloud computing system. However, it is worth mentioning that not all cloud computing systems are sufficiently technologically advanced to be able to cope with such a complicated mechanism - the system of energy transfer through smart electric power grids. The perfect example of such solution is the innovative cloud computing – Green Cloud, which makes it possible to directly and safely transfer the information from measuring devices to consumers as well as to those who control energy transfer process.

There are many factors, which are in favor of developing intelligent electrical networks. It secures people’s energy safety by eliminating certain interruptions in providing energy services and maximizing efficiency of energy fluctuation from the source of its production to the customer. Secondly, it allows minimizing the costs of electrical services thanks to the optimal and constant integration of environmental-friendly, local energy resources. Moreover, it guarantees diversity and individuality among the quality levels of received energy. What is more, as a result of development comes functionality of services given by providers, which is also being widened on the customers’ behalf, i.e. intelligent metering and invoicing (e.g. two-dimensional counters, variability of used energy’s price in exact time), management of energy and monitoring the conditions of its delivery.

It is worth saying that extending intelligent electrical systems comes in favor of developing Renewable Energy Resources. Thanks to intelligent electrical networks dispersed renewable resources of limited availability of power and energy can be integrated. Nevertheless, the most important factor that settles the value of investment in intelligent electrical network systems is the necessity of overhauling the present supply networks. European aims in the field of protecting the environment cannot be reached without certain changes of electrical grids. The urgency of investing in renewable raw materials, dispersed generation and electric vehicles requires appropriate infrastructure, which will be able to integrate the producers’, consumers’ and entities’ realizing both of this functions activities. It should also appease constantly growing demand for electric energy. That is why implementing innovations and developing already existing ones is such an important challenge for Poland and Europe in the following years.


Renewable Energy Resources

Renewable Energy Resources (RER), which will surely gain the European market in the incoming years, keep on developing dynamically. According to the data on Poland’s energy policy, share of RER in the final use of energy is thought to reach the point of 15.5 percentage points in 2020, which means: for electrical energy the level of use will grow up to 19.3%, heat and refrigeration engineering – 17% and transport fuels 10.2%. The variety and – on the contrary to the conventional methods – inexhaustibility testify to the value of this form of producing energy. Renewable energy can be reached from all of the natural resources, from the energy of sun, wind, water and earth. The leading way of producing energy from the renewable resources in Poland is the use of wind power. Wind power forms recently about 57.6% of all renewable energy resources. It reached the first place among all RER technologies already in 2009. The majority of wind farms is set in north-western Poland. Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship is leading in this ranking and is followed by Wielkopolskie and Pomorskie Voivodeships.

According to the data, published by Energy Regulatory Office, at the end of September 2012 wind farms were producing concomitantly 2 496.748 MW of energy, and by the end of 2015 this mark has reached 5000MW, which indicates about 13% of the whole electrical system in Poland; wind power reached 6.21% of the whole production of electrical energy – and this level is constantly rising. This fact arises from appropriate climate conditions; the level of breeziness is regular and beneficial in the whole country, which aids popularization of RER and attracting certain investments into this form of energy generation. The level of insolation in Poland, as well as breeziness, also seems to be relatively beneficial. As a result of analyzing the insolation map of Poland and comparing it with other European countries, one can come to the conclusion that Poland, compared with other countries of central and northern Europe, has the highest coefficients. Lower quantity of energy is observed even in Germany, Great Britain and northern countries.

What is important – the level of insolation in Poland is even and reaches approximately 1000 kW/m2 yearly. The statistics of solar radiation seem to be positive, about 80% of the general insolation (per annum) is observed in 6-7 months of spring and summer season. As a result, receiving energy from solar radiation, meaning from the photovoltaic farms, is very enduring and efficient. That is why for the last few years, there has been a significant growth in the general amount of investments in photovoltaic energy and technological development of its practical use in Poland. Currently, there are 653 active photovoltaic farms in Poland, mostly micro-installations. The greatest development of photovoltaic, solar and industrial energy took place in 2014-2015 – at this time, the number of emerging photovoltaic farms reached a spectacular increase and their possible power also achieved an important growth. 2016 is bound to bring some significant changes in this sector, as other investments are about to start.

Investors, as well as local governments, noticed the potential in geothermal energy, because of its ecological, economical and touristic benefits. Geothermal energy does not damage the landscape; neither pollutes the air nor the ground and water. The resources of geothermal water are actually endless and self-sufficient, in comparison to photovoltaic and wind power. Apart from that, the intake of geothermal water can become a touristic – holiday attraction, just like geothermal pools in Uniejów. The ways of generating and storing water power consist in pumped-storage power stations. The power of such station depends on the size of settlers and differences between their water levels. These bodies of water can be both natural and artificial. The ability of pumped-storage power stations to warehouse energy ranges between 65-85%. The huge advantage of this type of generators is the speed of launching – its full power can be reached even in a few minutes. The costs of building such a power station are quite high in a way, but with appropriate difference of energy prices between the highest and the lowest demand for it, this investment is bound to be profitable. What is also worth considering is connection between hydropower industry with other types of RER, such as wind and solar power.

Using such technologies as Vertical Wind Turbines GVT (red., described in the article “Ultramodern vertical wind turbines”, e.g. near pumped-storage power station in Żarnowiec, can significantly raise the efficiency. Such a source of natural energy, thanks to the modular construction and construction and unlimited type of subsoil can generate up to 200 MW for the pumped-storage power station and about 200 MW of constant power for the localizations close to the generator. This will probably create stable and safe system of providing energy to local inhabitants and solve certain energy problems of the region. Analogical solutions should be implemented also in remaining five pumped-storage power stations in Poland, as to increase the efficiency of generating energy and its storage. Such kind of activity – combined with relatively low investment’s costs – can significantly raise efficiency and make certain regions energy-secured.


Energy self-sufficiency - the coming years prospect?

As a conclusion of the arguments presented above, appropriate use of Poland’s potential and properly planned, implemented RER projects can be a great source of energy, making already existing generators safer. Poland is not energy self-sufficient yet, however - with use of the modern RER innovations, such as GVT, Poland is bound to become self-sufficient, as one of the very few in the whole Europe. The development of the energy security system in Poland based on RER, combined with electrical intelligent networks which use innovative Green Cloud computing system, will surely reduce the level of carbon dioxide emission and to guarantee energy stability of Poland. Solar, wind and geothermal power can help people to face the energy challenges that are already set. Last changes in this sector, significant growth of interest and potential, as well as the recent situation, prove it explicitly.

Source: Green Economy

Analyzing the energy conditions of Poland, the scope of country’s resources and capabilities leads one to the conclusion that the country can be fully self-sufficient. Indeed, all the energy sources, so far known to humanity, are available here.

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