Wood-generated heat and electricity in Poland

Article, 29.06.2016

Lebork has completed the construction of a heat and power cogeneration plant on schedule and connected it to the city's district heating network. The plant now provides 40% of Lebork's energy needs for hot water and heating. At the same time it generates electricity for the local electricity network.

The head of the Lebork district congratulates the city's mayor on the successful completion of the plant and hands him a congratulatory message.
Teresa Ossowska-Szara, head of the Lebork district, hands Witold Namyślak, mayor of the city of Lebork, a letter of congratulations on the construction of the plant. © Piotr Majewski

Approximately 90% of Poland's energy is generated by coal, making Poland's energy industry one of the most polluting in Europe. Poland has set itself the target, in the context of the EU directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, to increase by 15% the share of renewable energies in its total energy consumption by 2020. The completed biomass cogeneration plant in Lebork contributes to meeting this objective. 

In summer, thanks to this new power plant, Lebork will be able to stop using the old coal-fired plant completely. The revenues from the sale of electricity generated by the plant cover the costs of the biomass it consumes, which could not compete with the price of coal. As both private and public buildings are connected to the district heating network, not only the 13,000 households connected to the network benefit but also the entire city population. 

Biomass from the surrounding region

The city of Lebork has a population of 35,000 and is situated in the Pomorskie region in northern Poland some 60 km from  Danzig. The Pomorskie region with its extensive forests has great potential for the use of renewable energies, especially biomass. The biomass needed to operate the plant is available in almost unlimited quantities in the immediate vicinity. Waste material from the local wood industry cover to a very large extent the plant's requirements for biomass. The short distances to transport it to the plant is also a positive factor for the energy balance. The biomass is stored in a simple steel construction located directly next to the plant. A roof has been built from the storehouse to the plant to protect the biomass from wind and rain during transportation from the storage place to the plant.

Improved energy balance thanks to additional measures

The city of Lebork has insulated its public buildings through other public funds and modernised the existing heat distribution stations. In this way the public buildings connected to the district heating network can reduce their energy requirements.

Heat and power cogeneration plant

A heat and power cogeneration plant is a heat generation plant that produces electricity at the same time or a power station that also supplies heat. In this way consumers are supplied with the two most important forms of energy – electricity and heat.