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PGE Plans to Expand the Peak-Pumping Power Plant in Żarnowiec. The 40-year-old Facility will Gain the Largest Battery Energy Storage in Europe

ENERGYPGE Plans to Expand the Peak-Pumping Power Plant in Żarnowiec. The 40-year-old Facility will Gain the Largest Battery Energy Storage in Europe

The Żarnowiec peak pump power plant in Pomerania, with a power output of over 700 MW, was launched exactly 40 years ago and remains the largest facility of this type in Poland. In the vicinity, Europe’s largest large-scale energy storage facility will soon be built, which will assist in balancing the National Power System and facilitate the integration of the Baltic Sea wind farms being built.

“We currently possess a total of 1.5 GW of peak-pump power capacity. We will be building another power plant of this type in Młoty with a capacity reaching approx. 1 GW. We are currently heavily focused on the development of peak-pump power generation” says Lechosław Rojewski, vice chairman of the board at PGE.

“The Żarnowiec power plant plays a key role in the national power system. Firstly, because of the power of the power plant itself, and secondly, because of the size of the storage tanks, which allow for storage and energy supply at full power for about 5-5.5 hours. This is important not only in the context of stabilizing the National Power System, but also in crisis situations when there is a need to rebuild this system or when we are at risk of a blackout. The pump power plant has a high response speed. Within three minutes, we are able to supply such a large amount of energy that it could rebuild the National Power System or power up one of the conventional power plants,” explains Marcin Karlikowski, CEO of PGE Renewable Energy.

The Żarnowiec pump power plant, located by Lake Żarnowiec in Czymanowo, is the largest of its type in Poland. When there is a shortage of energy, for instance during peak hours, water is dumped from the upper tank to the lower one, powering turbines which convert the motion into kinetic energy. Conversely, in moments of excess energy, the water is pumped back from the lower tank to the upper one, where it is stored as potential energy.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Żarnowiec water power plant, a ceremony was held at the Culture Center in Gniewino with the participation of the employees who were awarded Honorary Badges for Merits in Energy and Distinguished Service for PGE Renewable Energy.

“The Żarnowiec pump power plant with a capacity of 716 MW is one of our biggest assets. Taking into account that the entire Pomeranian province currently has a demand for power of approx. 600 MW, this power plant can fully meet this demand if necessary. However, it doesn’t just secure energy supplies, but can also act as an energy storage system. The surplus energy stored in it allows us to manage 3.6 GWh,” says Lechosław Rojewski, vice chairman of the board at PGE Polish Energy Group.

“It’s important that this power plant is reliable, which we always stress, and its continuous operating hours sets the benchmark for other pump power plants. And we already know that these sources have a future,” adds Marcin Karlikowski.

The Żarnowiec power plant is also important for the region, not only securing energy supplies but also generating employment. Zbigniew Walczak, the mayor of the municipality of Gniewino, attests that the existence and long functioning of the plant has caused the municipality and its surrounding areas to change. It is not only important for the municipality of Gniewino, but also for the entire northern Kashubia sub-region.

“We currently employ about 85 people at the Żarnowiec power plant. These are mostly hydro-power engineers. There are also interns from the school in Wejherowo, which we patronize, and from which many of our employees come from. This is a whole career path: from hydro-energy engineers or standby operation engineers to automators, electricians, and mechanics,” said Marcin Karlikowski, CEO of PGE Renewable Energy.

The Żarnowiec peak pump power plant was launched in 1983 and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It is currently a modern, updated facility. An extensive modernization in 2012 significantly improved its operation both operationally and economically.

“We currently have plans to modernize the upper tank and install an additional 200 MW capacity accumulator at the Żarnowiec power plant,” announces Lechosław Rojewski.

The large-scale, battery energy storage system with a power of over 200 MW and a capacity of over 820 MWh at the Żarnowiec peak pump power plant is set to be the largest installation of its kind in Europe. It will provide sustainable access to energy in periods of increased demand, enhance the possibilities of stabilizing the National Power System, and facilitate the integration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) located in the north of Poland, especially planned offshore wind farms.

“We currently have a total of about 1.5 GW peak-pump power and recently decided to develop such assets. We will build another peak-pump power plant in Młoty, with a larger capacity than Żarnowiec, reaching about 1 GW. We are putting a strong emphasis on the development of peak-pump power generation,” says Vice Chairman of the Board of PGE Polish Energy Group.

PGE is planning to complete the Młoty peak pump power plant by the end of 2030 in Lower Silesia, near Bystrzyca Kłodzka. At the end of last year, the company and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management signed a cooperation agreement on the construction of this power plant and in March this year filed an application for permission to establish a purpose company to carry out this project.

The Młoty Peak Pump Power Plant is one of three strategic investments of this type, included in last year’s report prepared by the Expert Team for the Construction of Peak Pump Power Plants, commissioned by the Prime Minister.

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