The issue of infamous records of low emission has become a permanent element of the calendar of media releases as well as school and pre-school competitions in the scope of environmental protection. Combating low emission is a multi-stage process requiring comprehensive solutions and harmonised cooperation between all stakeholders.
Social movements, local and parliamentary politicians and entrepreneurs, including TAURON Group become involved in combating the polluted air. The energy holding situated in the south of Poland knows the smog problem from the scratch. After all, it operates on the territory of provinces with the highest number of smog alarms, in cities indicated in the report of the World Health Organisation among those with the worst air quality.
TAURON, as the first energy company in Poland, approached the problem of combating low emission in a comprehensive way. The programme called “Breathe the air” aims to support clients and local governments willing to shift to more ecological heat sources. The project was launches during happenings in Katowice, Kraków and Wrocław. - We want to create conditions for the change of heating into more ecological forms, comfortable for our clients and effective in terms of resolving the smog problem. We ensure more comprehensive support from technical advice through covering financial costs of equipment purchase to dedicated tariffs – Filip Grzegorczyk, President of the Management Board of TAURON Polska Energia indicates. – Our project responds to the governmental Sustainable Development Strategy and it is oriented both to education and the technological support - he adds.
We warm up Polish cities
During special events organised under the programme, inhabitants of cities may learn about reasons of smog and its impact on health, undergo free spirometry tests and use advice of professionals in the field of heating. The youngest have not been forgotten who were educated in the area of care for air quality through games.
The way of convincing users to replace their heating into more ecological systems, tested by TAURON, is organising local ecological picnics. The central point of this type of events is a mobile platform, so-called heating bus in which specialists from TAURON present various methods of ecological heating of premises and estimate investment costs of a tailor-made investment.
– TAURON today is a multi-energy concern and our current offer is of comprehensive nature. It consists of a broad set of basic energy utilities such as electricity, gas and ekogroszek (ecological coal), associated with the broadly-understood energy services. For persons appreciating traditional solutions we have stoves heated with ekogroszek (ecological coal) and high-quality heating fuel. On the other hand, we offer modern gas and electricity stoves to clients appreciating mainly comfort and convenience – Filip Grzegorczyk says.
So far, sixteen picnics were organised and the next are planned in as many as 40 locations of the southern Poland.
Instead of smokers
It is not easy to convince people to replace heating due to financial barriers but also many years’ habits. The development of diverse offers tailored to individual needs and financial capacity of clients under the “Breathe the air” project should help to achieve this objective.
So-called comprehensive heating packages whose attractiveness is based on combination of three elements generating specific benefits for the client are a novelty on the market.
First of all, TAURON enables the purchase of gas boilers, ekogroszek-fired boilers and a number of electric heating devices, always at market prices and made according to tested technology; secondly, the client has a possibility to obtain a preferential 0 percent interest rate loan for financing the investment at the bank cooperating with TAURON; third, TAURON offers a price of gas, electricity or ekogroszek dedicated for specific technologies.
TAURON’s heating packages also contain attractive price conditions of electricity, gas and ekogroszek which allow to save on maintenance costs of heating devices. For example, for heat-storing stoves, a dedicated price list called Antysmog Plus was created which guarantees a very favourable price of energy used for heating needs. In addition, owing to the service provided, the client obtains professional assistance in case of failure of the installation and equipment.
TAURON also promotes the development of systemic heat, the most ecological heating method in urban areas with access to the network. Under the Programme of Low Emission Elimination by 2022, TAURON Ciepło plans to connect over 180 MW of heating capacity in eight cities, i.e.: in Będzin, Chorzów, Czeladź, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Katowice, Siemianowice Śląskie, Sosnowiec and Świętochłowice. It means annual reduction of over 50 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide and approximately 250 tonnes less of suspended particles in the air.
Innovation target against smog
All initiatives regarding smog combating are contained in TAURON under the umbrella of the “Breathe the air” programme. Measures undertaken in cooperation with local governments make their important element, e.g. within the development of electromobility, since also transport is responsible for a part of low emission or research and development programmes launched in cooperation with municipalities.
One of them is the project successfully implemented in the Tatra District called Eko-Podhale. Partners are to test modern systems of electric heating in single-family houses. Houses for the project were selected by the district governor’s office. However, it was necessary to meet certain requirements, among others, in the scope of energy demand (up to 120 kWh/m2/year), house area (to 180 m2) or its good thermal insulation. In addition, a building had to be coal-heated and used about 4 tonnes of the black fuel in the heating season. The reason is that the objective of the project is to replace such boiler with an electrical heat-storing stove.
The completion of the project is scheduled in spring 2019. The findings, analyses and opinions of clients acquired during the survey will be known in the middle of next year. On their basis, the company intends to diversify the offer of tariffs and price lists for households heated by electricity even stronger.
The “Breathe the air” programme oriented both to education and the technological support is not only a part of the Sustainable Development Strategy but also the TAURON Group’s Sustainability Strategy for the years 2017-
-2025. In order to fulfil its tasks in the best possible way, under the programme TAURON launched a portal dedicated to low emission www.oddychajpowietrzem.pl. Each visitor of the website will find information concerning the condition of air in his/her area, learn about the site of the nearest anti-smog event or read about the phenomenon of low emission and methods of its prevention.
Until 2050 the quantity of natural raw materials consumed worldwide will triple to over 140 billion tonnes. This makes us aware of the significance of circular economy in the global perspective. After all, it has also an enormous impact on the Polish economy which mostly relies on natural raw materials and industrial production.
The core of the closed circuit based on the assumptions of the “circular economy” is the responsible use of resources we hold. It refers mostly to business but also to individual households. However, the “Take, produce, reuse” principle is a great challenge for business.
Simply speaking, the model of closed circuit is a concept according to which products, materials and raw materials should remain in the economy as long as possible and waste – if generated at all – should be treated as secondary raw materials which may be subject to recycling, processing and reuse. In that way, the life cycle of products is extended. In practice, it also means limiting the waste to the minimum.
Among benefits stemming from introduction of the closed circuit, ecological factors are listed in the first instance, followed by economic factors. In this model of economy, resources are used in a more sustainable way and the maximum use of all raw materials, products and waste fosters generating savings in a longer-term perspective.
Waste not to the wastebin
In the European Union, over 2.5 billion tonnes of waste are produced annually. Combating this problem is challenge for many years since enterprises must have time for developing models of closed circuit-based solutions. Such an approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economic model based on the “take - produce - use - throw away” scheme. The European Commission which adopted the package of proposals to “close the circuit” of the European economy as early as in December 2015, encourages the change of attitudes. Moreover, the dedicated Team for Circular Economy Affairs operates at the Ministry of Development, which has elaborated a plan for implementing those guidelines in Poland and transforming the domestic economy into closed circuit. The process has already started, now the synergy is needed.
– The circular economy responds to such challenges as depletion of raw materials, growth of their prices as well as environmental pollution and exploitation. Introducing of its assumptions will enable to change the model of operation of enterprises into more aware and responsible, to manage the resources in a more cost-effective way, to save the energy and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases – comments Filip Grzegorczyk, the President of the Management Board of TAURON Polska Energia. – The solutions proposed by the European Commission will also contribute to the growth of innovativeness of enterprises which are forced to develop adequate solutions in this direction. – he adds.
Changes in the scope of environmental protection and in waste management are more and more visible in Poland. The new ambitious package related to circular economy is also under implementation in TAURON. The model used determines responsible management of substances generated and used in TAURON Group along the entire supply chain. It facilitates aware and responsible management of generated waste and optimises costs of its management. The measures applied contribute to “closing the circuit” of product life cycle owing to reuse and produce benefits both for the environment and for the enterprise standing.
With a handful for secondary raw materials
Initiatives implemented by TAURON in the scope of aiming at the circular economy have become more dynamic over the recent years. The coal originating from TAURON Wydobycie company used in TAURON Wytwarzanie was also supplemented by sludge generated by processing of this raw material. On the other hand, waste from the Generation and Heat segments goes to Mining where it is applied for constructing floors, filling hollows after the exploitation process or production of aggregates. The latter are also used broadly in road building, therefore TAURON, in cooperation with the Institute of Construction Technology and the Road and Bridge Research Institute is preparing National Technical Assessments confirming quality.
The Group has been continuously developing the production of materials based on post-mining waste and waste from the energy sector, whereas under the project concerning reorganisation of the energy and mining waste management area, it optimises its quality, so that it can become a raw material for energy-efficient combustion.
Wherever possible, the status of generated waste is changed into by-products and new markets are searched for them. The TAURON’s offer includes certified fly ash generated in the energy plants of the Group, to be used in construction. The company is also searching for routes of recovery and reuse of slag and ash mixtures originating from the current output of power plants and those deposited at waste dumping sites.
The development of technologies contributing to the use of waste and searching for new markets for it, both outside and inside TAURON Group is an element of the TAURON Group’s Sustainability Strategy for the years 2017-2025. It is also a part of the assumptions of the Environmental Policy of the Group as well as international economic and ecological trends. The stake is high, therefore the entity dedicated to these issues – Biomasa Grupa TAURON is responsible for the implementation of comprehensive measures in the scope of circular economy.
– Our wish is that it becomes a direction to be followed by TAURON – with the benefit for present and future generations – Filip Grzegorczyk says. – It seems that we have no other choice since the quantity of raw materials worldwide is limited and we are unable to act otherwise than by preventing waste generation. The complexity of our approach is vital. We have a developed model of circular economy, based on the regulations and we have been consequently implementing it – he summarises.