PGE – Bełchatów Power Plant, Poland
Field covered by study visit: renewable energy based on biomass combustion
When: 1 st year, organizing institution: Silesian University of Technology/AGH
The Bełchatów Power Plant is Poland’s and Europe’s, and soon also the world’s, largest brown coal fuelled Power Station. The power units working here generate a power of 4,450 MW, which sums up to 15 per cent of all installed power production capacity in the Polish power industry. Annual energy production, being an average of 27-28 TWh, amounts to 20 per cent of the national production. Bełchatow’s energy is the cheapest electricity available in Poland.
In 2011 a new 858 MW unit was commissioned and the total capacity of the power has risen to 5,053 MW. The new unit has an efficiency rating of approximately 42%, which is contributing to reduction of both fuel consumption and emissions compared to the existing units. The unit was built by Alstom. Alstom has also carried out the modernization of the low pressure parts in all 12 turbines and on 8 April 2009, PGE and Alstom signed a contract to modernize unit 6. After modernization of other units total installed capacity reached 5,420 MW in September 2015.
In 2007, the World Wide Fund for Nature ranked the power station as Europe’s 11th most relatively polluting power station due to carbon dioxide emissions of 1.09 kg per kWh of energy produced, and the highest absolute emitter, with 30.1 million tonnes of CO2 per year. In July 2009, the facility was titled as the biggest carbon polluter in the European Union by the Sandbag Climate Campaign, a London-based non-profit organization. The report stated that the facility produced 30,862,792 tonnes of CO2 in 2008, and after commissioning the new unit, the whole generating capacity will have grown by 20%.
To reduce CO2 emissions, the company plans to introduce carbon capture and storage technology. On 8 December 2008, PGE and Alstom signed a memorandum of understanding, according to which Alstom will design and construct a pilot carbon capture plant at Unit 12 by mid-2011. The larger carbon capture plant will be integrated with the new 858 MW unit by 2015. The project will be supported by the European Commission with the €180 million allocation from the European Energy Programme for Recovery.
During study visit students have opprotunity to notice the complexity of different issues linked with large power industry. They will be aware of scale of problems with transformation for fossil to renewables as well as potential impact on economy, labour market and enviromnet.