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Could Poland be self-sustainable in energy?


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,449
13 Apr 2011  #1
Unless there are some top-niotch energy specialsits on PF, probably no-one will be able to answer this. My question is: could Poland lessen her dependence on energy raw materials (oil, coal. natural gas) by concentrating on sustainable soruces?

For instance,what if a three or four deep row of wind-powered energy rigs were to line the entire Baltic coast and also be emplaced in the windy mountainous south? What if the country's huge mounds of garbage were used to produce bio-energy, and the mega-efforts of state and business joined forces to slash red tape and make this a reality?
gumishu 11 | 4,953
13 Apr 2011  #2
would you like to live next to a wind farm?? you wouldn't
Harry
13 Apr 2011  #3
My question is: could Poland lessen her dependence on energy raw materials by concentrating on sustainable soruces?

The answer to your question is entirely simple: it is "yes". It is bleeding obvious: put up even a single wind turbine and install just a single biofuel boiler in the country and Poland's dependence on fossil fuels has been lessened.

But that is because you are asking the wrong question. You should be asking: to what extent can Poland lessen her dependence on fossil fuels via the use of sustainable sources? Or even better: how much of a role should sustainable energy sources play in Poland's drive to lessen her dependence on fossil fuels?
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #4
I'm not sure if you'd call me top-notch, but energy (the non-green kind) is my field now.

Windfarms etc could lessen but not eliminate Poland's dependence on fossil fuels. Geothermal energy is a good bet too, and Poland has untapped hydroelectric potential.

However:

the mega-efforts of state and business joined forces to slash red tape and make this a reality?

This is the crux. The infrastructure setup costs are vast, and the finances never look as good on paper as with fossil fuels. The quantity of wind farms etc needed to generate a significant amount of power is vast and expensive to build (though extremely cheap to run). And the energy suppliers are not going to invest in that unless a) their existing income streams dry up, b) they are forced to or c) it somehow becomes worth their while to compete against themselves. None of those things are going to happen any time soon which simply makes the government's role in strategic planning and commissioning more complicated and expensive.

Reduced domestic energy consumption is the essential starting point as well as incentives for solar and wind power (I don't mean windfarms, I mean smaller scale for householders). Self-sufficiency in energy should appeal to some of us - I'd certainly like it. A clever but unpopular move would be to give a very significant tax break for owners of passive buildings and penalties for the owners of the least energy efficient.

edit

would you like to live next to a wind farm?? you wouldn't

I'd rather that than be next to a coal mine or nuclear power station. And BTW, I can see a couple of big wind farms from my window now - beautiful in their way and very, very clean.

The winfarms that @Pol 3 is talking about, however, are miles offshore. Feel free to live next to them.
gumishu 11 | 4,953
13 Apr 2011  #5
I once read that a big wind turbine only pays itself after 20 years or so and then it is ripe for replacement ie it is worn enough mechanically

beautiful in their way and very, very clean.

they may not emit fumes but some tend to emit very unpleasant noise - heard some people living next to a couple of wind turbines and being haunted by the noise
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #6
I once read that a big wind turbine only pays itself after 20 years or so and then it is ripe for replacement ie it is worn enough mechanically

That used to be true when the concept was new. Economies of scale and technological advances have changed that. And unlike fossil fuels, the wind doesn't run out after a few years, nor do we have to mine/drill for it.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,449
13 Apr 2011  #7
Yes, I meant 'to what extent' could Poland lessen its dependence...by 10, 20, 50, 75% Also, what if the shale-gas thing pans out? Poland reportedly has Europe's biggest shale-gas dposits, even a bit more than France does.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #8
Yes, I meant 'to what extent' could Poland lessen its dependence...by 10, 20, 50, 75%

That depends on Poland's ability to play hardball with energy suppliers and get companies (largely by bankrolling them) to set things up. Europe-wide there are targets and projects which Poland is part of. Some European countries are exceeding the targets, some aren't.

Also, what if the shale-gas thing pans out? Poland reportedly has Europe's biggest shale-gas dposits

Not a good idea. Check out the thread on that. Looks good on paper as an energy reserve, but doesn't work well near inhabited areas.

The key starting point is to better manage day to day energy consumption, building regulations that favour better insulation and penalise bad insulation, incentives for builders of the passiv-haus, far less waste including packaging of retail goods, a reduction in food-miles, an end to multi-car families, disincentives to making long journeys with one person per vehicle, and proper waste management.
sobieski 107 | 2,129
13 Apr 2011  #9
I would think that in this country there is so much open space but nobody lives. It should not be that hard to put windfarms there.

At the coast: I am Belgian, and in my very much built-up country they built windfarms in the sea where they hinder nobody (except for some seagulls perhaps)
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #10
The wind is stronger there and the Belgian sector of the North Sea has no mineral resources to exploit so it's ideal, as is the Polish Baltic coast. There are also existing logistical resources to service it from the Dutch sector. The windfarms in the British sector of the North Sea are growing exponentially, but as with Belgium this has come about very slowly and only because the government has taken it seriously - Poland is much further behind in this, and doesn't have a sufficient infrastructure base to serve it - they'd need to co-operate heavily with Germany. I won't even mention the Coal lobby.
Leopejo 4 | 120
13 Apr 2011  #11
I still hope the nuclear project goes on.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,449
13 Apr 2011  #12
There was talk about extracting gas from coal to create a less polluting fuel. Anyone heard of this? The coal lobby should go along with this, as mining jobs might not only not be lost, but new ones might be created.
gumishu 11 | 4,953
13 Apr 2011  #13
I don't think Poland should give up on coal - it should actually defend its coal-based industry which the Tusk government does not seem to do in Europe - and were gonna pay for this sometime after 2012
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,449
13 Apr 2011  #14
The bottom line is that nobody in Poland really cares. PO, PiS and SLD are only out to win the election, reinforcing the Macchievelian truth that the sole purpose

of poltiics is to get to power and stay in power.
The coal lobby and corproate lobbies in general as well as employee lobbies (trade unions), medical, media, entertainmetn and other inudstries are about only their own narrow, selfish interests. Seems there is no-one thinking about what is good for the country and nation as a whole or concerned about strategic issues and long-term development, not only economic but also cultural, demographic and ethical There is absolutely no 'mąż opatrznościowy' on the horizon who could rally Poles round a wise programme of national development that goes beyond selling off the country's few remaining assets to patch up the budget deficit and bankroll the poltical elite.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #15
The bottom line is that nobody in Poland really cares. PO, PiS and SLD are only out to win the election, reinforcing the Macchievelian truth that the sole purpose of poltiics is to get to power and stay in power.

Pretty well true. That's one of the various reasons the impetus has to be EU wide - national politicians in PL and elsewhere think exactly like that and tend to be reactive rather than pro-active..

I don't think Poland should give up on coal - it should actually defend its coal-based industry which the Tusk government does not seem to do in Europe - and were gonna pay for this sometime after 2012

Because it's an inefficient and polluting fossil fuel that is largely indefensible nowadays. In any case, only a very small amount of Polish coal (the anthracite) is actually any good. The brown coal is little more than useless.
gumishu 11 | 4,953
13 Apr 2011  #16
yeah useless - it just powers your copmuter - pffff nothing to be bothered with after all - and you probably think nuclear or natural gas energy generating is cheaper than that based on coal - as for brown coal the biggest power plant in this country is powered with it - sure useless
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #17
yeah useless - it just powers your copmuter

as for brown coal the biggest power plant in this country is powered with it - sure useless

Yes useless and a fourth-rate option: to get any decent level of heat off it you need too much raw product. And the levels of pollution from brown coal demand all sorts of procedures to burn off the smoke.
Leopejo 4 | 120
13 Apr 2011  #18
nd you probably think nuclear or natural gas energy generating is cheaper than that based on coal

Nuclear is pretty cheap.
gumishu 11 | 4,953
13 Apr 2011  #19
well I am not that hundred per cent sure - storing waste is pretty complicated - in Poland it would require creating an entirely new salt mine in a salt dome I gather (and that's not a cheap thing to do) - what I am pretty sure of is nuclear lobby would want us to think it is so cheap and easy - I am not entirely against nuclear power I just think it should be well thought over

Yes useless and a fourth-rate option: to get any decent level of heat off it you need too much raw product.

yes let's just shut down Bełchatów right now - it is so useless :P - I am not against wind power but it won't consist 20 per cent of power production in many years in Poland - geothermal is even more expensive to develope and I wouldn't be surprised if actually European Commission would try to block many geothermal projects here - just as it destroyed Polish ship-building industry allowing subsidies in Germany and France at the same time
Leopejo 4 | 120
13 Apr 2011  #20
I don't know the Polish situation exactly, but generally speaking nuclear waste disposal is not the problem they paint it to be. And sometimes "lobbies" get it right.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #21
yes let's just shut down Bełchatów right now - it is so useless :P

Yes. As soon as humanly possible. It is a disgrace. Mind you, Poland isn't alone in having coal-fired power stations, but brown 'coal'? Best left underground.

geothermal is even more expensive to develope

But many times cheaper in the long run than having to operate coal mines.

I wouldn't be surprised if actually European Commission would try to block many geothermal projects here

Providing they meet the conditions for funding there shouldn't be a problem. And the conditions are published and straightforward enough for other countries to follow.

just as it destroyed Polish ship-building industry allowing subsidies in Germany and France at the same time

See above.
gumishu 11 | 4,953
13 Apr 2011  #22
you see Johnny Poland has one of the cheapest electric power in Europe -

(but this can change soon because of European agreements that are very unfavorable to us - and Tusk has done little to avert it - btw Tusk government also struck a long-term deal with Gazprom which makes us pay the highest prices for natural gas in Europe - even many in the government were very much against it - it was eventuallly signed recently with little publicity - this is one nice indication of how most media in Poland are allied to the PO)

- but we don't not have too much of a margin - shutting Bełchatów may lead to power shortages simply

sorry for a too long thrown-in thoughts ;)

btw as far as I know Bełchatów won't shut any time soon - a new coal field is just being developed next to the one that is getting depleted (the new one's gonna be smaller however)
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #23
Poland has one of the cheapest electric power in Europe

Yes, thereby reducing the incentive to cut energy use, and requiring a supply of cheap generation that they fill by burning fossil fuels. Both bad.

struck a long-term deal with Gazprom which makes us pay the highest prices for natural gas in Europe

I wonder why - makes little sense.

- but we don't not have too much of a margin - shutting Bełchatów may lead to power shortages simply

Which is all the more reason to develop newer, cleaner sources as soon as humanly possible so it can be shut without undue delay. AFAIK they haven't even got a schedule for decommisioning it - though I'd be more than happy if someone here knows of one.
gumishu 11 | 4,953
13 Apr 2011  #24
I wonder why - makes little sense.

because Poland is riddled with Russian agents of influence and maybe even Mr Pawlak is one - it is just a thing to consider - someone almost anecdotically mentioned in some newspaper about the negatiotions with the Russians - he was so surprised how well Russians knew the realities of Polish industry including gas cosumption

Poland Johnny is like surprise surprise everywhere - this country could have strategically built a pipeline to Norway gas fields and it failed to for 20 years - makes you wonder some people in Poland don't actually play in Polish team

what I can easily imagine is Russians have some papers on Wałęsa for example and many many others who could have went corrupt this or that way - say the Russians have some papers on Waldemar Pawlak and threatened him they will reveal it?
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #25
Interesting, but it doesn't ring true somehow. The issue in hand is what Poland can do to develop sustainable energy. It seems to me that the first step is to convince people that it is neccessary in the long term.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
13 Apr 2011  #26
The issue in hand is what Poland can do to develop sustainable energy.

What about E.U. Energy subsidies?

There are some vague ideas about solar panels, when installed being reimbursed to the home owner but I have yet to talk to anyone who has actually done this.

There are two types, one for electricity and another for hot water.
My brother did it in Ireland and got 75% of his cost back.

There are also domestic Geothermal heat pump. which keeps the water warm (most of the energy used heats the water from 0 to 10 or something).
A friend has this installed and is very happy with it.

The problem with these are the costs, it is an investment and they pay off for themselves after about 4 years after which you have very cheap bills. But the initial costs and lack of information is off putting.

I like passive houses, they are cool :)
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #27
What about E.U. Energy subsidies?

It's a great idea - needs a lot of support from each member state to work.

There are some vague ideas about solar panels, when installed being reimbursed to the home owner.

I've only come across very large companies doing it in the UK. Great that your brother did it.

I like passive houses too - it really looks like they're the way forward.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
13 Apr 2011  #28
Geothermal energy is a good bet too, and Poland has untapped hydroelectric potential.

Isn't that what Father Director is always on about?

Radio Mary HATE the E.U. unless they are getting 15 mln zloty from them :)

The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management is giving the controversial priest Tadeusz Rydzyk another 15 mln zloty for a geothermal-energy project for the university he founded.

Father Rydzyk said on his radio station, Radio Maryja, that the geothermal water will be used to heat his College of Social and Media Studies in Torun, which he established in 2001. The man who is heading the project, Professor Ryszard Kozlowski of the Krakow University of Technology, told the daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that the geothermal water will also be used to create electricity and will be piped into swimming pools on the campus.

"The electrical energy - even though it will be only 2 megawatts - will be worth 7 mln zloty" a year, he said. As for the water's use in swimming pools, it contains minerals so it will have healing properties, he said.

Fair play!

Krakow Post
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
13 Apr 2011  #29
Just a bit! One of the issues (among several) about that was to do with meeting the very stringent funding regulations. Personally I'd have been happy if they'd done it, but the Polish government were expected to underwrite the project which very likely would not have met the funding criteria. In which case the EU wouldn't stump up and Poland would be left with the bill.

Geothermal (and its heat-exchanging variants) are very much the way forward.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
13 Apr 2011  #30
Personally I'd have been happy if they'd done it, but the Polish government were expected to underwrite the project

Is it not going ahead?
That'd be a pity if it were because of bureaucracy, any further information on the criteria?


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