As the distribution structure of district heating in Polish cities is highly developed, PGE aims to maximise its use with a view to its positive impact on improving air quality and the environment.
District heating is one of the most effective ways of reducing smog, which – especially in the autumn and winter season – is a problem in many Polish cities. Research shows that, depending on location, one of the main sources of smog is individual heating of buildings with low-quality fuels.
Thermal energy for heating is produced not in household furnaces but instead in high-efficiency CHP plants equipped with efficient systems for denitration, desulphurisation and particulate matter filtering. In addition, electricity is produced in a cogeneration process, which means that the energy contained in the fuel is converted and used more efficiently.
PGE - largest producer and supplier of district heat
PGE Group cares for partner relations with local authorities and local distributors, thanks to which it develops solutions beneficial to customers.
PGE Group’s district heating strategy is a response to the need to improve air quality in cities through mass connections to district heating networks and the decommissioning of old, inefficient and environmentally polluting domestic coal-fired furnaces.
In markets where PGE Energia Ciepła is only a heat producer, buildings with a demand of 182 MWt were connected, whereas in markets where PGE Energia Ciepła operates as an integrated entity and is also a heat distributor, buildings with a demand of 36 MWt were connected.
Three quarters of connections were made in three large cities: Kraków, Wrocław and Gdańsk. PGE Energia Ciepła also connected buildings from the primary market, i.e. newly constructed buildings with heat demand of 148 MWt. On the secondary market, i.e. facilities which replaced their heat supply with the municipal heating network, the company connected buildings with heat demand of 70 MWt.
Modernisation of generating assets
Consistent investments in generating assets reduce PGE Group’s environmental impact. Using the best available technologies, PGE Group strives to further improve its environmental performance. In 1989-2022, PGE Group’s power plants reduced emissions as follows: SO2 by 95%, NOx by 66%, dust by 99%.
Chart of emission reductions of SO2, NOx and dust from 1989 to date.
Depending on the location, modernisation programs have different scopes of adaptation works. A large group of modernisation and restoration investments in recent years have been tasks aimed at adapting generating units to the requirements of the BAT Conclusions.
Most of them have been completed. In the case of PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna, the following power stations were adapted to BAT conclusions: Bełchatów, Opole, Dolna Odra, Rybnik, Turów. Of this scope, work was still continuing in 2022 at the Bełchatów and Turów power plants.
In the case of PGE Energia Ciepła the derogation period lasts until the end of 2023. The actions taken were mainly aimed at adjusting PGE’s generation assets to environmental limits (e.g. improvement of effluent emission parameters, reduction of dust, SO2, NOx, Hg and other emissions).
In 2022, work continued at several locations to improve effluent parameter emissions. The work to comply with the BAT Conclusions, has also contributed to improvements in other parameters, including generation efficiency and increased controllability, which are also important in terms of reducing failure rates.
Another example of an investment that contributes to reducing emissions into the environment and at the same time improves generation parameters is the modernisation of the gas turbine at Zielona Góra CHP. The investment was completed in November 2022.
As a result of the modernisation, the unit’s emissions have been reduced (e.g. NOx), the efficiency of energy generation has increased and the regulatory parameters of the entire generating unit have improved, which also has an impact on the CHP’s failure rate.