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Geothermal heating part of ambitious plans of Polish government

Smog over Warsaw, Poland - Picture November 2015 (source: flickr/ Radek Kolakowski, creative commons)

Geothermal heating is increasingly seen as a real option in Poland’s drive for energy self-sufficiency and the government

Targeting the improvement of air quality, the current Polish government now intends to fund up to 700 million Polish Zloty ($185 million) supporting drilling and construction of geothermal plants. Following failed plans for shale gas development, the planned funding could help to adapt wells that have been abandoned.

Shale gas was seen as a key in Poland reaching its goal to become energy independent, but with the withdrawal of Western partners, geothermal is believed to be able to fill that gap. One of the largest proponents for many years is Jacek Zimny from the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy and Ryszard Kozlowski Cracow University of Technology. Both refer to the legacy of Prof. Julian Sokolowski, who died 12 years ago. As the team leader of the Polish Academy of Sciences, he created the first map of geothermal energy resources and the concept of their use in 500 municipalities.

“With heating fuelled by geothermal energy, Poland could become completely independent from foreign energy sources.”, said Jacek Zimny.

As Head of the Polish Geothermal Association he has been advising people interested in investing in geothermal, among others an ambitious project in Torun.

In February this year, the country’s President Andrzej Duda appointed him to the National Development Council. In June, he was one of the main speakers at the conference organized by the National Fund for geothermal energy. There he talked about his thesis on Polish energy self-sufficiency based on the abundant resources of geothermal.

But there is some controversy. Some see funding for geothermal of this magnitude a waste of public funds, so Dr. Michael Wilczynski, a former chief geologist of the country, then vice president of the EcoFund, which financed the geothermal installations in Szaflary, Pyrzyce, Mszczonów and Stargard.

He says that only in a few places in Poland water wells have sufficient temperature (above 60 deg. C), pressure and chemical composition to be used in heating. – But even there it is impossible to build a heating plant without public subsidies, because one borehole It costs even more than 30 million Polish Zloty ($8m). The subsequent operation is also the most expensive, because the water from the ground is usually highly saline, destroying pipes and equipment, clog holes – describes Dr. Michael Wilczynski.

Proponents of the use of heat rocks and water stress that Poland has an extremely rich resources, allowing a thousand times to meet the energy needs of the country. Just invest in the acquisition and will be self-sufficient for centuries.

Source: Dziennik Polski

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