Elaboration of the new subsidy program for RES to heat, including solar thermal and wind power to heat, is the main conclusion of the conference – ‘District heating systems with renewable energy sources and seasonal heat storages’, held in Warsaw, at the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOŚiGW), on January 17, 2018.

Nearly 130 people took part in the conference. The event, co-organized by the Institute of Renewable Energy (IEO), initiated the work on new priority projects in this area in Poland. Zbigniew Kamieński – adviser to the President of the NFOŚiGW Management Board was opened and led the conference.Grzegorz Wiśniewski, President of the Board of IEO, in the introductory ‘District heating systems with renewable energy sources and seasonal heat storages’ drew attention to of the role of variable RES (solar thermal and wind) in the district heating systems (DHS) integrated with short and long term thermal storage. Solar assisted DH are already in use in dozen Polish cities and need to be scale up and market push, however the opportunity of usage of 6 GW wind power in Poland for heating and its balancing is not used yet. He emphasized the specifics of the operation of the competitive electricity market and the increasing impact of renewable energy on electricity prices, in particular on the concept of green electric heating – (Green Power-to-Heat) and integration of heating and electricity sectors. The key to introducing renewable energy for heating and integration of district heating with power engineering would be seasonal heat storage. Energy storage in hot water is still the cheapest technology that also allows long-term storage of surplus generation.

The Danish example of investment in DHC renewable energy sources and seasonal heat storages was presented by Per Kristensen from Planenergi, Denmark. Per Kristensen said, the key to effective and rapid transformation of heating is the implementation of solutions improving energy efficiency, which reduce the temperatures of water in the district heating networks.

Modern fourth generation (4G) district heating infrastructure should be based on smart low temperature networks. Seasonal heat storage combined with solar district heating systems coupled with the electricity market was presented by Professor Jan-Olof Dalenbäck from Chalmers University of Technology and CIT Energy Management AB, Sweden. Professor Dalenbäck said, the use of solar heat has many advantages that put them over the use of the biomass. First of all – fixed and long term guaranteed heat cost. The cost of solar heat is independent of the rising prices of energy resources or prices of CO2 emission.

In addition, in order to obtain the same amount of heat from biomass, it is necessary to use raw material collected from the cultivation area many times (30-50 times) larger than the surface of the solar collectors area in a solar district heating system. SDH systems are functioning and mature technology, which should be taken into account, and its development must be supported by a change of approach in creating the state energy policy, both at the political and investor level.

In the second part of the conference, two panels of experts took place. The first of the discussion panel, titled ‘The use of renewable energy installations and heat storage – new challenges for district heating companies and housing cooperatives’ was led by Zbigniew Kamieński. Panel participants were: Wojciech Ignacok – President of the Board Geotermia Podhalańska S.A., Dariusz Marczewski – President of the Board District Heating Company in Płońsk, Konrad Krzysztof Nowak – President of the Board District Heating Company in Olsztyn, Krzysztof Rodak – President of the Board District Heating Company in Tarnów, Jacek Szymczak – President of the Board Chamber of Commerce Polish District Heating, Tomasz Wilczak – Member of the Board – PGNIG Termika. The panelists, in their statements concerning proposed establishment of the National Fund of a new support program found that this proposal could be a chance for the modernization of the Polish district heating system. The implementation of the project must be adapted to the specifics and needs of potential beneficiaries in Poland.

The second of the discussion panel titled ‘Does Poland is a market for intelligent systems cooperating with the heating-weather-dependent renewable energy sources, seasonal heat storage and electricity market?’ led by Grzegorz Wiśniewski. Panel participants were: Roman Majnusz – President of the Board Ensol, Małgorzata Mika – Bryska – Director in Veolia Energy Poland, Andrzej Rubczyński – Director of District Heating Strategy, Forum Energii, Tadeusz Skoczkowski – Warsaw University of Technology, Witold Rożnowski – Director of the Research and Development Center in Rafako S.A. , Małgorzata Mika-Bryska – Director of Regulation and Public Relations , Veolia Energia Polska, Roman Majnusz – President of the Solar Power Management Board ENSOL, Andrzej Rubczyński – Director of Heat Engineering Strategy, Energy Forum , Profesor Tadeusz Skoczkowski – Head of the Department of Rational Energy Use at the Warsaw University of Technology. The panelists of the second discussion panel stated that without the introduction of renewable energy sources into district heating systems, it will be not possible to obtain by DH companies the status of the ‘effective district heating system’ (according to the EU energy efficiency directive) and to fulfill the RES targets for Poland for 2020 (according to the EU RES directive).

Summing up the conference, Zbigniew Kamieński stated that the proposal of a new subsidy program RES for DH is worth attention and implementation. Kazimierz Kujda, President of NFOŚiGW confirmed that NFOŚiGW is prepared for financing of a series of pilot RES to heat projects for the polish district heating industry. The undertaken work on new subsidy program will be finished in a few months. IEO is collecting and analyzing good examples of policy measures and subsidy programs for promotion of RES and heat storage for DH systems in other counters. The conference was organized and the new subsidy program are preparing with the support of SDHp2m project.

Aneta Wiecka

Presentations of experts from the conference are available on the NFOŚiGW website