Poland will replace the imports of Russian gas with the fuel imported through Baltic Pipe gas pipe and LNG terminals. The contracted gas will also be used in currently implemented projects. It is a guarantee for us that, despite Putin’s energy blackmail, we will be able to ensure uninterrupted heat supplies to our customers – said PGE vicepresident Wanda Buk at a webinar organized by EurActiv.
– PGE has approximately 25 percent market share in cogenerated heat, 16 combined heat and power plants (with thermal capacity of 6,8 GWt and electric capacity of 2,6 GWe) and 677 km of district heating networks. We produce and supply heat to large agglomerations and smaller Polish cities. In selected locations, aside from generation activity, PGE also distributes heat to end customers. Overall, we supply district heat to more than 2 million users. Our cogeneration is currently mostly coal-based, but we have an ambitious plan on how to replace coal-fired sources and achieve remarkable emissions reduction – said Wanda Buk.
– Last year Russia started to manipulate gas flows to Europe and this year completely cut off some of the export routes. This, as well as Europe’s sanctions and decision to limit its dependence on Russia led to supply squeeze and price increase. It impacted not only natural gas and coal prices but also contributed to EU ETS market volatility. Natural gas will remain in the energy mix of Poland and EU for some time but the crucial thing is to get rid of Russian supplies. Poland will replace the imports of Russian gas with the fuel imported through Baltic Pipe gas pipe and LNG terminals. The contracted gas will also be used in currently implemented projects. It is a guarantee for us that, despite Putin’s energy blackmail, we will be able to ensure uninterrupted heat supplies to our customers – she added.
– However, renewables in district heating cannot deliver the heat supply for the biggest agglomerations based on heating systems with hundreds of megawatts of ordered capacity. This is why, the largest investment volume is planned for the replacement of our generation assets with high-efficiency gas cogeneration. High-efficiency gas or biomass cogeneration is the most preferred technology for the Polish district heating systems. The reasoning behind it is strictly determined by the characteristics of Polish district heating systems, required temperature parameters as well as their geographical area. Those are the features that distinguish our Polish sector from systems located in the Western Europe. It is worth pointing out that, gas-fired high-efficiency cogeneration units will be ready for modernisation towards the combustion of hydrogen or biomethane or only hydrogen for zero-emission generation. Although the technological adaptation of units seems not to be a problem, the availability of these fuels on such a large scale is still questionable – said Buk.