Between 29 May and 2 June 2023, the second round of Expert Study Visits was held in Poland under the EEA FM Project called “Capacity building of key stakeholders in the area of geothermal energy” (acronym: KeyGeothermal). The Project is implemented by the Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (MEERI PAS) and the National Energy Authority of Iceland (NEA) (keygeothermal.pl). The group of experts included members of the aforementioned Polish and Icelandic institutions.
In 2022, MEERI PAS and NEA experts visited Konin and Chochołowskie Termy. Koluszki and Konin were the sites of their interest in 2023; the towns are prospective for geothermal use in district heating.
The mayor of Koluszki and his staff, a representative of the County Council and the President of Koluszkowskie Przedsiębiorstwo Gospodarki Komunalnej hosted the visitors. During the study visit, participants learned more about the town’s geological and geothermal conditions, test well drilling project (the application for financing was formally evaluated, and the final decision is expected soon), current district heating structure and plans to include geothermal in the district heating system if the expected parameters of the geothermal water are achieved. Moreover, facilities, investments and plans related to comprehensive municipal services in the town were presented. Geothermal energy has the potential to become their significant part of. Visits to selected facilities in Koluszki and the municipality (including but not limited to the local district heating plant, water supply company and the construction site of a tunnel under the main railway line, Lisowice reservoir, a local museum with exhibits dating back to the WWI and the battle that took place in the surrounding area in 1914) were the tour’s highlights. The participants were also hosted by the hospitable members of the Rural Housewives’ Cooperative. The experts appreciated the achievements and plans made by Koluszki (ca. 160 million PLN were acquired recently for infrastructural investments), expressing their conviction that geothermal energy will soon be implemented as a source of ecologically pure heat.
The meeting in Koło was hosted by the town mayor, his staff, and the President of Zakład Energetyki Cieplnej Sp. z o.o. (heating company). Contractors’ representatives also participated in the discussions. Two geothermal wells, i.e. production and reinjection, have been drilled in Koło recently. The water temperature at the intake reaches 90⁰C. A geothermal heating plant is under construction and supposed to start operating in the 2023/2024 heating season. It shall supply significant amounts of environmentally clean heat to the town’s inhabitants; district heating has been based on fine coal combustion. The drilling activities and geothermal heat plants are financed from a grant and loan offered by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, supplemented with MZEC Koło’s own resources (Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme for 2014 – 2020, Priority Axis I Low-carbon economy, Measure 1.1. Supporting generation and distribution of energy from renewable sources. Submeasure 1.1.1. Supporting investments related to energy generation from renewable sources, including connecting the sources to the transmission/distribution network).
The visit’s agenda included meetings with the mayor of Koło and his staff, the President of MPEC Koło, contractor’s representatives, and a presentation of information about the wells, construction of the geothermal heat plant, and the current systems operated by MZEC Koło Sp. z o.o. The discussions were devoted to how geothermal heat and water can be used better and more effectively in Koło to the benefit of the town’s inhabitants, local economic development and environmental protection. A visit to an exhibition of ceramicware manufactured in the pottery factory in Koło from the mid-19th to the end of the 20th century added to the agenda’s attractiveness. Moreover, the participants went to see the revitalised ruins of a castle at the bank of the Warta River, dating back to c. 14th – a unique historical monument in the town.
As a result of the Study Visits in 2023, proposals and recommendations will be shared on some operation, technology and energy solutions for the geothermal project implemented in Koło and the expected one in Koluszki. They will be developed by the Icelandic and Polish experts – the “KeyGeothermal” Project partners – in collaboration with the specialists engaged in the projects in Koluszki and Koło.
The Project Partners would like to thank all persons and institutions for collaborating at the successful and interesting Expert Study Visits in Koluszki and Koło.
Beata Kępińska, Aleksandra Kasztelewicz (IGSMiE PAN, Polska)
Baldur Petursson (NEA / Orkustofnun, Islandia)