Biogas Situation in Poland

According to the official documents and independent analyses, agricultural biogas sector in Poland will develop with increased momentum in the upcoming years.

This can be possible due to the fact that there is a big potential in the terms of Polish resources available. But resources are only one of the factors that lead to the success of biogas industry development – technological knowledge, social awareness and political will are the most important drivers among others. The Biogas Action Work Package 4 that is focused on project replication activities across European Union aims to support the development of the biogas sector through cooperation with Polish partners.

Polish biogas potential & main substrates

Potential of biogas production in Poland is very high. It is estimated that around 5 billions cubic meters of biogas could be produced by use of the Polish resources per year – that corresponds to roughly 36 % of total natural gas consumed in the country.

The agricultural waste products alone could produce a volume of 1,7 billions m3 of biogas per year or around one third of the total potential.

Nowadays the most preferable substrates for the biogas plants among the investors are agricultural and food-production wastes. This is due to the fact that such substrates have guaranteed supply all over the year. On the other hand, also energy crops are receiving high interests – but again to ensure the continuous supply, these are mainly in the form of silage. The most common used resources for biogas during 2015 were: slurry, fruit and vegetable residues, distillery wastes and maize silage.

State of the market development

The share of renewable technologies in the whole energy production in Poland is around 12%. Biogas total production in Poland equals 279 MWel – this include all types of biogas: agricultural and waste biogas. Despite the huge biogas potential only 76 agricultural biogas plants are registered in Poland. Number of biogas plants commenced and volume of produced biogas increase every year but growth is very slow though year 2015 showed almost a doubling since the previous years.

Polish biogas plants are mainly operating in CHP mode, burning produced biogas and generating electricity and heat. Most of the Biogas Plants on the Polish market are of the size of 1 MWe or bigger, 26 of the plants are below the level of 1 MWe, and their size vary – starting from small plants of 100 kWe.

Obstacles for development & main focus of technology promotion

Current law does not guarantee the grid connection of the biogas plant (both electrical and gas grid), even the small units have problems to get the permissions for connection. Poland also lacks a proper system that will inform about the possibilities of the grid connection. Procedures of getting connection permission are very complicated and receiving a reply for such takes very long time.

Moreover, for a long time there was no political will to prepare stable and transparent regulations for not only biogas plants but the whole renewable energy sector. Works on the renewable energy act have been going for a long time, without visible effects, there is a lot of tardiness on the policy makers side in this matter.

Such situation raises uncertainty on the investors’ point of view and restrains the market development. There is around 500 projects that are ready for realization, but are frozen due to the lack of proper support and regulations. Organisations promoting renewable energy sources should work together and influence the government on creation of suitable regulations.

Biogas policy

Current political situation in Poland seems more favourable for biogas development than previously, the government start looking at the biogas as an important solution for country’s energy security. It also seems to be the most favourable one when compared with other renewable energy technologies. Talks with political representatives are now more active and as the new Energy Strategy for 2050 and changes in the energy law are under development the biogas market can seek opportunities coming in the near future. The policy makers start to look at biogas as an important solution for country’s energy security and great opportunity for development of agricultural regions.

Read the full report on Biogas Situation in Poland here.