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Poland increases funds for municipalities to invest in geothermal energy

Poland’s government has increased funds for exploiting geothermal energy to 250 million zlotys (approximately 53.4 million euros). This new call is especially important for municipalities that are interested in exploring thermal water deposits in their area and then using this renewable energy source for heating flats, houses, companies and public buildings.

Only from the beginning of 2022, the Polish Geological Institute – National Research Institute (PGI – NRI) issued 150 preliminary opinions to municipalities on the occurrence and possibility of managing thermal waters in the indicated locations, whereby 65 of them received positive recommendations. Thus, in order to meet the needs of local governments, at the request of the Minister of Climate and Environment, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFEPWM) decided to increase the budget of the priority programme entitled Enabling access to thermal waters in Poland.

“We consistently focus on the development of renewable energy sources in Poland and rich, natural and native geothermal resources are an important component of the general RES balance,” underlined the Minister of Climate and Environment, Anna Moskwa. “Geothermal energy provides clean, emission-free energy, which is of particular importance in our intense efforts to protect the climate and improve air quality in the country. At the same time, this source of energy is a very stable source, independent of seasons and weather conditions, and neutral for the landscape. That is why we want to support local governments even more extensively and effectively in implementing geothermal investments.”

The Deputy Minister of Climate and Environment and Chief National Geologist, Piotr Dziadzio explained that, through the full, non-repayable support, the government is reducing the sense of uncertainty, which is of key importance for municipalities in making decisions on geothermal investments.

“And the number of interested parties is constantly growing, which results from the exploration of the geological structure and confirmed thermal water resources with already made boreholes,” he added. “This gives rise to the claim that hot water from the Earth’s interior can be drawn in Poland not only in Podhale, where geothermal energy is already well developed but also on an extensive strip stretching from Western Pomerania to the Świętokrzyskie Mountains.”

A good example of a successful investment in geothermal energy is Sieradz, a city in central Poland, which as a beneficiary, received a grant of almost 10.5 million zlotys (2.2 million euros) from the NFEPWM. With these funds, from January 2018 to January 2019 the city explored and documented the thermal water resources in its area by making a Sieradz GT-1 exploratory borehole with a depth of 1,505 metres. The result turned out to be promising – the efficiency of the deposit is 249 cubic metres per hour and the temperature of the water is 51.8°C.

“The Łódzkie Voivodeship focuses on green energy,” said Grzegorz Schreiber, Marshal of the Łódzkie Voivodeship. “We want to continue investing in and developing green projects. Our company, Łódź Agglomeration Railway, is the first railway company in the country, which today in 30 per cent and ultimately 100 per cent, is powered by green energy. We also have some of the most famous geothermal pools in the whole country, located in Uniejów and used by residents from all over Poland. Now, thanks to the government programme, the residents of Sieradz will use geothermal energy to heat their flats, while taking care of ecology and their health.”

The next step of the Sieradz local government is the construction of a geothermal and biomass heating plant with a Sieradz GT-2 injection borehole and – additionally – the construction of a co-generation module with a capacity of 0.9 Megawatts electric (MWe) and 1.1 Megawatts thermal (MWt), which, through the energy use of biomass in the form of woodchips, will support, particularly in winter, the operation of the future heating plant based on the thermal water deposit.

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