During the webinar organized by EurActiv, the vice president of PGE Wanda Buk spoke about the transformation of the heating sector in Poland.
Although regional, district heating is the only available source of heat for millions of households mostly located in urban areas. Nearly 6 million households in Poland, out of a total of around 14 million, use district heating. Sole PGE provides heat supply to over 2 million households.
On one hand, some provisions in the “Fit for 55” package may become an opportunity to decarbonise district heating. On the other hand they should be implemented in a reasonable timeframe to maintain uninterrupted heat delivery to businesses and households. A “must have” in the package is reshaping a definition of an efficient district heating system and a definition of high-efficiency cogeneration under the Energy Efficiency Directive recast.
These definitions are moreover connected with a series of other files within the package. For example, under the recast of the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD), new Annex III, as proposed by the Commission, requires that new or modernized buildings, from 2030 or 2027 regarding public ones, must be supplied only by renewables or waste heat and this also pertains to district heating.
Remarkably, although under the draft EED, using heat produced in a high-efficiency cogeneration could constitute the basis for meeting the criterion of an efficient heating system, the revision of the EPBD through the given criteria would significantly limit the connection of new users to such systems after 2030, and thus – block the development of efficient district heating.
That case shows that maintaining coherence is crucial to maintain predictability to reasonably adjust business activities. For instance, PGE proposed to extend the application of direct CO2 emission standard for high-efficiency CHP to become effective as of 2030 and to enable to connect all building to efficient district heating systems.
At PGE, we focus on the generation of electricity and heat from renewables. We are exploring options in power-to-heat technologies. Last year, in Gdańsk, we commissioned the first in Poland large-scale facility of electrode boilers. Yet, in order to facilitate the uptake of this versatile technology it is necessary to introduce a mechanism to count renewable electricity as renewable heat in the Renewables Directive while ensuring that no double counting of renewable electricity takes place.