As the Polish economy grows, the demand for electricity and other energy carriers also increases. In Poland, electricity consumption per capita is 40% below the EU average and is expected to grow by approximately 2% each year until 2030. Considering also the fact that over 40% of generation assets have been in operation for more than 30 years, there is a clear need to expand the installed capacities.
Natural gas is expected to gradually replace coal in the energy mix over the period until 2050. With the technologies available today, natural gas can be recovered on virtually every continent. It is expected that as soon as within the next decade gas-based power generation will start to play the key role in the development of the European power market.
The ORLEN Group is already a major producer of electricity and heat, largely used by the Group to meet its own needs. We are also one of the largest consumers of natural gas in Poland and an active participant in the natural gas deregulation process. We consistently pursue the strategic objectives identified in the 2013-2017 strategy which provides for modernisation of the existing assets and building new power generation capacities.
One of the key elements of the ORLEN Group's Energy Strategy for 2013–2017 is the construction of a 463 MWe CCGT power plant in Włocławek. The new unit will generate heat and electricity simultaneously, using the co-generation technology. The main advantages offered by CCGT units is their higher operating efficiency and flexibility as opposed to conventional coal-based power generation systems. The technologies employed in CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) units are also more environmentally friendly, as they produce much lower emissions of harmful substances, such as NOx, SO2 or greenhouses gasses.
In 2013, mainly earth and foundation work was carried out on the project. The assembly of the steel structure of the turbine house building also began. The new CCGT plant is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2015. The new facility, which is to replace the existing less-efficient CHP plant, will satisfy the entire demand for electricity and will be the main source of process steam for Anwil, an ORLEN Group company based in Włocławek. It is estimated that about half of the unit's total output of 463 MWe will be sold to external customers. The plant will consume 0.6-0.7bn cubic metres of gas annually.
In 2013, work also continued on the concept scenarios for the construction of a CCGT unit in Płock, with capacity of 450-600 MWe. The final decision on the launch of the project is expected to be made in the second half of 2014.
Power plants operated by the ORLEN Group
The CHP plant in Płock is the largest commercial power generation unit in Poland. With electricity and heat generating capacity of 345 MWe and 2,150 MWt, respectively, the plant supplies electricity and heat to PKN ORLEN's process installations and to external customers. The CHP plant operates with high efficiency rates of approximately 86% and can be fired with various fuels, including diesel oil, refinery gas and natural gas.
In 2013, work on the construction of flue gas denitrification (deNox) and desulphurisation (FGD) units continued as part of the environment-focused investment programme designed to ensure our compliance with the strict industrial emission standards to be effective as of January 1st 2016.
In 2013, we also completed pre-design analyses of modernisation of the CHP plant at the Trzebinia Refinery. Under the selected scenario, coal-based steam generation will be partially retained, and natural gas will be introduced as the second fuel to be used by a new power source at the refinery.