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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 7, 2010
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
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More Wind Turbines
April 7, 2010 By A.R.    
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Wind turbines, which produce clean energy, are set to become a fixture in the Polish landscape.

The wind power industry is the fastest developing branch of renewable energy. The technology used to build wind turbines is becoming increasingly simple and at the same time modern wind turbines are up to 99 percent efficient. Most wind power in the EU is produced by Germany and Spain and the leading producer among small countries is Denmark.
The wind power industry started to develop in Poland at the end of the last century, mainly along the Baltic coast. According to the Energy Regulatory Office (URE), at the end of 2009 the installed capacity of wind farms in Poland totaled 724 MW. Wind-power-related projects in this country include 13 wind farms and a number of single wind turbines and small groups of low-output units scattered all over the country. For the time being, the amount of wind power produced in Poland remains one of the lowest in Europe, with per capita output at 0.012 kW and 1.44 kW per square kilometer of land. Under a government plan, the installed capacity of the wind power industry is expected to reach 2,000 MW this year. As a result, wind power will account for 2.3 percent of electricity consumption nationwide.

Investment in the wind power industry gained momentum last year. In October, the country's largest wind farm was launched in Margonin, Wielkopolska province. The farm, built by Neolica Polska Sp. z o.o., a company that is part of the Energias de Portugal corporation, has a power output of 120 MW and comprises 60 wind power units each with a capacity of 2 MW. The farm will produce around 260,000 MWh of energy per year. Also last year, the RWE corporation launched the Suwałki Wind Farm in the eastern province of Podlasie. The farm consists of 18 turbines which are the tallest structures of this kind in Poland. Each tower stands 100 meters tall and the rotors are almost 93 m in diameter. Together, the power units can produce at least 80 million kWh of electricity per year. The Suwałki project is the first in a series of wind farms RWE plans to launch in Poland. By 2015, RWE wants to build turbines to produce 300 MW of wind power annually. In Tychowo, West Pomerania province, RWE is building a wind farm that, when completed this year, will consist of 15 wind turbines each with a power output of 2.3 MW.

Studies by the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (IMGW) show that Poland has vast wind energy resources along the Baltic coast, in the northeastern part of the country near the cities of Suwałki and Gołdap, the open spaces of the Warmia, Mazuria and Pomerania regions in the north, and the Podkarpacie and Lower Silesia regions in the south. In central Poland, wind turbines require towers over 30 meters tall so that the rotors can be mounted high enough to reach winds ensuring economic viability for the projects.

In December, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) released Pure Power, a report on the development of the wind power industry in the EU. The report contains updated scenarios for the industry until 2020 and 2030, with sections for individual EU member states. The association wants to make governments aware of the role that wind power can play in the energy sector.
The report lists a "low" and "high" for each EU member state. The scenarios of "low" development are derived from the EWEA's conservative plan for the EU wind power industry to attain 230 GW of installed capacity by 2020, with annual energy production at 580 TWh. The "high" scenario, in turn, relies on the assertion that wind energy is the most easily available form of renewable energy and that by 2020 it will account for at least 12 percent of total electricity consumption, as recommended by the European Commission.

Under the "low" scenario, the installed capacity of Poland's wind power industry is expected to increase to around 10,500 MW by 2020, which means it would grow by 836 MW annually, with the total output reaching 25.4 TWh. That way, wind power could account for 12.5 percent of total electricity consumption in Poland by 2020.

The "high" scenario calls for 12,500 MW of installed capacity in Poland's wind power industry, which means that in 2010-2020 Poland will gain 1,002 MW per year. Under this scenario, electricity produced by wind farms will total 30 TWh in 2020, accounting for 14.8 percent of national electricity consumption.

The EWEA report classifies Poland as a country with high development potential for the wind power industry. Under the "high" scenario, Poland ranks along with France and Italy, countries where the installed capacity is predicted to grow by anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 MW per year. The group of countries with the highest annual increases in wind power output (2,000-3,000 MW) includes Germany, Spain and Britain.

Warsaw will host the European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC), an event expected to be attended by 7,000 international delegates April 20-23.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) organizes the conference every year in a different country. This will be the first EWEC in Eastern Europe, which is a promising market as far as wind power is concerned. In Poland, the conference will be held under the auspices of the Economy Ministry, with the support of the Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW).
Over 400 delegates will take the floor during the four conference days. The conference will deal with issues such as new technology, the funding of renewable energy, and an EU policy under which energy produced from renewable resources should account for 20 percent of all energy produced in the bloc by 2020.
This year's EWEC will be combined with another conference entitled Wind Energy Market in Poland, which will be held at the Hilton Hotel April 19.
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