European largest factory for energy storage solutions in Poland

The 2022 was the year of the first production for the 50,000 m2 in Gdańsk. With a cost over 185 million EUR, this factory wants to be the largest in European energy storage solutions. Realized by the Northvolt agency, this structure can produce, in its first period of life, an output around 5 GWh with a potential capacity of 12 GWh after an initial period of growth. Its realization will also bring the build of a totally new R&D engineering center creating approximately 500 new jobs in the Gdańsk Voivodship. This project will help not only the region but the entire energy community of Poland to improve its carbon footprint, and its dependence from fossils fuels mostly imported.

The main problem of this ambitious project is the difficult capacity of industry to integrate the produced storage cells in some real-world applications. Exceeding this problem would open a new option in the field of energy storage methods, helping with the implementation of these types of factories with the consequent improvement of energy efficiency and creation of new jobs in of the energy renovation and decarbonization reduction areas.

The realization of a sophisticated energy storage systems which can support the energy transition process, especially in the electricity grid industry, is the main intention of the Northvolt industry in order to become a European leader of the battery storage sector and also in other storage methods. It is more than necessary to pay attention to all the effects within the society to involve the population in the energy renovation and energy efficiency process through enhancing more interest so new job opportunities can be created.

A new concrete for more sustainable buildings

Not only the high-end, revolutionizing technology and complex solutions are needed in order to resolve many of the pressuring environmental issues that are haunting our society nowadays. Luckily some of the inventions have a chance, thanks to their character and essence, to be implemented into reality in shorter period and quite successfully. A new way could be represented by the improvement of existing technologies and materials. This kind of approach is represented by the Swedish company Skanska which operates within concrete production sector, especially around development of new concrete solutions that can be used in the construction sector.

In accordance with IAE’s analysis in 2022 the construction sector was responsible of 40% annual global CO2 emissions with consequences on climate change and people’s health. The objective of the company is to replace some components of concrete, with wastes like fly ash from power plants or wastes form steel production, realizing five different new classes of concrete. The new concrete product can be implemented in constructions of garages, joists, walls, fast-drying concrete, and general construction. Thanks to its more efficient design and modularization features these new products could contribute to the reduction of green-houses emission within this sector.

One of the proposed new concrete is the REBETONG which has great insulation properties and lower energy consumption in the implementation phase. These qualities, obtained thanks to the replacement of aggregates, are lied whit a less demolition and less use off natural resources with also limited costs for materials and shipping, which result in a final 10% reduction in emissions.

A next product worth to mention, implemented in the structure of the Generation Park office of Warsaw in 2018, is named TioCem®. The union of titanium oxide and solar rays cause a photocatalytic reaction resulting in a neutralization of harmful air compounds and dirty covering the surfaces of the same structures.  The photocatalytic process contributes to the air quality improvement in the area.

These two examples mentioned above are both capable to reduce concrete presence and emissions up to 50% maintaining at the same time durability, strength and workability. These new materials, lied to the usage of 3D printers, can also avoid complicated logistic plan, reducing general costs, construction time and are also able to implement the strongest material (graphene) and state as great replicable solutions for a fundamental sector.

New life for an old mine

A great chance to reduce air pollution level and increase the green energy production is represented by a system of old mines in South-West of Poland. Studies from the Polish Ministry of science and Higher Education shows that a possible solution would foresee, after years of extraction, to convert the mine in a big reserve of water that, thanks to the depth of the tunnels, may guarantee a new geothermal energy supply for the nearest town. An estimated production of 10GWh by the geothermal energy in addition to other 2GWh by the water flowing would lead inevitably to a reduction of CO2 emissions in the surrounding area.

The implementation method would be preceded by the study of some technical characteristics like pH value, water temperature and conductivity. Only after will be possible to connect a heat pump system, ideal for its high performance. Two shafts would be connected to an open-loop system which reinjection of water after the heat extraction. Initially water is pumped out from a borehole and circulate directly in a heat pump system in order to extract heat that can be distributed to a single house or for an entire district.

Some advantages may be obtained by this type of project; the improvement of small towns’ energy efficiency, a new life for old structures and strong sensibilization process for climate change and green energy production also in these rural and low-populated areas. In conclusion is possible to say that, even if geothermal energy production is not the highest resource in Poland, it could be used to improve a green energy production  and diversification of resources using these geothermal low—temperature systems.

Hydropower plants and potential of Poland

According to the ESHA (European Small Hydropower Plants), Poland is now using only 19% of technical potential of its structures which puts the nation in the last positions in Europe. However, studies have shown that it is possible to increase the production from 41 TWh to 80 TWh by developing a modernization of existing plants, in order to increase their energy efficiency, and establishing new ones.

Some problems are hampering the development of these new technologies, especially, the larger unused hydropower potential is generated by social, economic and institutional barriers, but also the consequences of the climate changes, that are affecting the efficiency of investments. In order to fight these phenomena is necessary to attenuate the current laws that are blocking the investment feasibility. Possible solutions are represented by the use of potential and existing structures that would also facilitate the implementation of others renewable sources thanks to the storage capability and flexibility of hydropower plants. The energy potential in Poland is distributed in an irregular manner whit the largest part located in the upper part of the country (from Warsaw to the estuary near Danzig).

In the last years different concepts have been developed with the intention of achieving a cascade of water steps; this project has been realized in Włocławek, that’s the only dam with a production capacity of 160.2 MW which, through various installations, can generate from 507 to 857 MW with the consequent production of 3428 to 4221 GWh/year; this is good slice of the national production (2.1- 2.6%). The combination of a hydropower plant in the lower Vistula and a cascade of damming barrages can give a significant contribution in order to cover the energy demand. A new project, named Siarzewo, has been carried out in 2012 and it will be realized starting from the next year (2023-2029); it has been selected as protection of Włocławek barrage and its social, economic, and ecological effects

Cities on the frontline of the energy crisis - Conference 30th March 2023


More information and registration:
Registration closes 23 Mar, 23:50

The ongoing energy crisis, caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, directly hits cities, people and local business across Europe. The heaviest burden is falling on European households suffering from increased energy poverty, as well as on owners of small and medium enterprises, affected by inflation and skyrocketing energy prices, soaring since early 2021 and further aggravated by the war. However, out of economic necessity, the crisis is also having an impact on our lifestyle behaviours, shifting us away from over-consumption behaviours to steer individual and collective actions towards practices that also fight against climate change.

Yet again on the frontline of the energy crisis, local authorities have showed readiness to respond. On top of delivering ambitious local climate solutions, they put in place immediate low-cost actions to reduce energy demand in public facilities and increased the share of renewables while supporting the most vulnerable households and local business.

Some of these examples were reflected in the Cities Energy Saving Sprint, a joint campaign launched by the Covenant of Mayors Europe, the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Addressing the common challenge, the campaign has had the double aim of encouraging local governments to immediately reduce energy consumption ahead of the winter season, while showing solidarity with Ukraine by cutting down Europe’s dependency on Russian gas, in line with the REPowerEU Plan's overarching objectives.

Efforts to fill up Europe’s gas storage reserves in 2022 have been largely successful. However, forecasts for upcoming winter seasons are unclear. Therefore, today’s emergency actions should be enshrined into social norms to redirect our crisis responses into permanent structural consumer behaviours. Municipalities each manage a large portfolio of building stock (both public and commercial), and have competences in urban planning, built infrastructure, public lighting and transport. Being the closest level of government to citizens, they are well placed to enable behavioural changes and to rationalise energy consumption such as for household financial savings, while reducing costs in their territories.

Drawing from examples of measures tackling the energy crisis while protecting residents in their territories, this high-level event will be an opportunity to showcase what the current local response to the energy crisis is. It will also be the chance to reflect on what support European institutions and national governments can give to further strengthen these efforts in the mid-term.

Local governments can expect to exchange with high-level representatives from European Institutions, - including Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson- the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions. They will discuss how EU institutions and national authorities can further support local and regional efforts to reduce energy consumption and dependency on Russian gas in the years to come.

Final version of DECIDE position paper complete

We are thrilled to share with you the final version of the DECIDE position paperWidening the support for participation of EU citizens in community and collective energy actions”. The document focuses on the concept of collective energy action, existence of collective energy actions on the ground and lack of acknowledgement and research and other support for such initiatives in the process of local stakeholder involvement in the European energy transition.

This paper is the result of 2 years of work, action and research carried out with 40+ on the ground initiatives across Europe within DECIDE project. The results of this work show that while energy communities (defined as Renewable Energy Communities and Citizen Energy Communities) have their space in the energy transition, the view on collective and community involvement needs to be wider to include most on the ground initiatives and account for their efforts and impact in the ongoing energy transition. Please read the position paper to see in more details.

The position paper is a call to discussion for more broader policy, research support and action on the European level. Please feel free to react to our position paper and let us know your feedback -

DECIDE is a Horizon 2020 project that aims to gain a better understanding of how energy communities and energy efficiency services are established and managed. It also intends to identify which kind of communications and interactions work best to encourage participation in energy communities for specific types of individuals and groups, and to test and transfer knowledge in pilot projects across Europe.

The project focusses on three levels of Energy Communities:

  • those existing at the start of the project and included in the work plan as such,
  • those that will be initiated throughout the project, and
  • those not directly partnering in the project but benefiting from the exchange and expertise of DECIDE.

Go and check also DECIDE project website and you will find...

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