The vision of energy and heating in the region was the main topic of the cyclical meeting of the Eastern Wielkopolska Partnership Forum (FPWW). A just transition is happening, but the war in Ukraine has changed the reality of this process as well.
At the end of April, the 6th Eastern Wielkopolska Partnership Forum was organized by the Polish Green Network and the Institute for the Green Future. The meeting was devoted to the current situation in the Polish energy sector, the situation of which changed quickly due to Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine.
The first speaker was Michał Smoleń from the Instrat Foundation, who pointed out that in the Polish Energy Policy until 2040, which is a strategic document of the Polish energy sector, our country intends to consume more and more natural gas. However, taking into account the upcoming independence of Europe from gas from Russia and the need to purchase fuel from other regions of the world, its price will increase dramatically. The use of gas as a bridge fuel between coal and renewable energy sources (RES) will no longer pay off. Therefore, it is extremely important at this point that Poland needs to begin an intensive replacement of coal and gas boilers with heat pumps and invest in deep thermal modernization of buildings and modernization of the transmission network, which will allow it to save fuel.
Another speaker was Zuzanna Sasiak from the Polish Green Network, who talked about the development of civic energy. She pointed out the advantages of distributed energy, which is more resistant to crises than conventional energy. Since April 1, 2022, the concept of collective prosumer has been in place in Polish law. For example, residents of multi-family houses can use it to invest in photovoltaic panels on the roof of a shared property.
The last speech belonged to Daniel Baliński from ZE PAK, who presented plans for the green development of the company, which is the largest private energy producer in Poland. The representative of ZE PAK confirmed that in 2022 two lignite mines will be closed, while the third one, Tomisławice, is to end mining between 2024 and 2030. ZE PAK is currently undergoing major changes. The company already owns the Konin power plant, which produces energy from renewable energy sources. It uses biomass as fuel, which, according to the company, comes from sustainable sources. ZE PAK also intends to invest in onshore and offshore wind farms.
The FPWW meeting ended with a discussion panel on energy and heating with the participation of the vice-president of Konin, Paweł Adamow, vice-mayor of Turek, Joanna Misiak-Kędziora, president of the Regional Development Agency (ARR) in Konin, Maciej Sytek, president of Municipal Entreprise for Heating Energy (MPEC) Konin, Sławomir Lorek and Daniel Baliński from ZE PAK. The president of MPEC emphasized that Konin does not have to worry about the availability of heat, because the city is investing heavily in green geothermal energy. The Deputy Mayor of Turek also emphasized the important role of goethermal springs in the transformation of her city. The President of the ARR in Konin noted that the transformation in Eastern Wielkopolska is already happening and its effect is a lot of innovative, green investments. According to Deputy Mayor Adamów, the more fragmented economic structure in a given city, the better, because it reacts more flexibly to changes and therefore it is necessary to invest in the SME sector.
The meetings of the Eastern Wielkopolska Partnership Forum are a space to talk about the future of the region, development prospects for its inhabitants and energy transformation in its social dimension. The next Forum meetings will also be devoted to these issues.