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Showing posts from June, 2016

Lack of Energy Diversity Cripples Polish Electricity Supply

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With 85% of the electricity in Poland supplied by coal, the country is in a unique position of vulnerability in Europe. While the use of coal throughout Europe is declining sharply, it is not changing significantly in Poland. Couple this fact with the steady decline in the profitability of operating coal plants,(1) and you can see nothing to suggest a very bright energy future in Poland under this policy. Recent changes in Poland also seem to clearly have stopped major new wind and PV energy capacity.


What we now see in the interim in Poland are the consequences of a lack of energy diversity in the supply.  For the second summer in a row, the coal plants are struggling due to schedule maintenance in the warm weather but also due to low water levels. While the wind can also be lower in these hot and dry months, our neighbors with extensive PV capacity are seeing a nice natural balancing with the hot and clear weather. Poland does not have that asset.

Even the long-term strategy of meet…

Poland Used Up Its Energy Transformation Funding to Prolong Dependence on Coal

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A new report from the very credible Client Earth group answers the question "why can't Poland get money from the EU to fund the transition away from coal to cleaner technologies?"

"As many as 70 per cent. projects implemented by energy companies in exchange for the free allocation of emission of greenhouse gases include carbon infrastructure, and only 10 percent.investments in renewable energy sources.However, the purpose negotiated by the Polish government called "derogation" .... was to be the modernization of the outdated energy sector and diversification of sources of supply. Investment in the coal could be affected by serious problems after 2020, when the price of allowances will begin to grow - comments by ClientEarth Foundation, Lawyers for the Earth."

The total funding up to 2020 was 4.5 billion EURO! Instead of spending the support, as intended by the EU, on de-carbonization, Poland spent it mostly on projects to support the existing coal energ…

RES Market in Poland: Biomass and Biogas New Favorites - Wind and PV Seem Doomed

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The biggest development in the renewable energy prospective market in Poland is the new amendment in the Sejm, which has passed the committee and appears to be sailing for rapid rubber-stamping by the rest of the government in Warsaw.

The single biggest characteristic of the law is the emergence of separate technology "baskets" for renewable energy auctions. The Polish Government figured out that it can control the mix of technologies by setting the size of the baskets as well as the reference prices (maximum allowed support in the form of a contract for the difference). Regardless of any other developments, it appears that this procedure will be used to skew the support away from PV and wind to biogas and biomass.

The characteristic being used to "make the cut" is the stability and reliability of the renewable energy source. The intermittent nature of PV and wind have led the Polish Government to put them into a less desirable category in baskets which can be limi…

Major German Grid Operator Shoots Down Argument that Renewables Cannot be Integrated into the Grid

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This is heresy in the utility business and they are supposed to keep exaggerating the adverse effects of renewable energy on the grid. But Boris Schucht, CEO of 50Hertz Transmission GmbH since 2010, is remarkably candid in his interview this week: "There are acertain number of myths in the energy industry. One of them is that we need more flexibility in the system to integrate renewables, like energy storage, interruptible loads or backup power plants. That’s a myth. We have a lot more flexibility than we need and a huge amount of potential."

He advocates some changes but is not repeating the doomsday scenarios echoed by Eurolectric's lobbyists. On days of excess energy, he says Germany can just export to Poland. If Poland is below the renewable energy target in 2020, it will have no choice but to take German wind electricity, even if that means replacing Polish coal plant electricity output. The decision for Poland is not whether we have renewable energy or not, but wh…

Where is that Reliable Coal Energy When We Need it? Poland faces Energy Shortage

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We are constantly lectured in Poland about how reliable the conventional energy system is and how unreliable renewable energy is.  Reality, however, suggests that our neighboring countries with diversified energy supplies are much more secure, much more reliable and now actually cheaper.


While Poland struggles with a 30-year old energy infrastructure, built by the communists who seemed incapable of building a reliable automobile, our neighbors have shifted to a large mix of renewable energy technologies that add alternative sources of power that generally compliment each other.

As energy storage is also deployed all around us, the future of electricity supply seems to be alluding Poland. The government seems locked into 1960s thinking about these issues.

Now a new report indicates that energy shortages may again appear in Poland in the late summer. Because, guess what, coal is unreliable under certain weather conditions (hot weather, high demand, and low water levels).

Not only are we…