WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland sees its capacity in solar energy rising to 2 gigawatts (GW) this summer, which will help it respond to the demand for power when some of its coal-fuelled power plants may face issues with water cooling due to expected drought, grid operator said.
Poland generates most of its electricity from burning coal in power stations, some of which use river waters for cooling. The country’s total installed electrical capacity is almost 47 GW.
Since Poland readies for the worst drought in decades, with coal mining and energy sectors being huge water consumers, questions about power supplies arise. Heatwave, drought and unplanned maintenances of power plants led to serious power supply problems in the past.
“Power producers do not signal that current hydrological situation has a significant impact on electricity generation,” power grid operator PSE said in an emailed response to Reuters.
It added that the total capacity of power plants that use river water for cooling is around 3.55 GW while the total capacity of coal-fuelled power stations is around 34 GW.
“This year’s summer will be extraordinary – this is the first year when the capacity in photovoltaics will come close at 2 GW. Photovoltaics is very ‘convenient’ for the system, as electricty is produced when it is most needed, which is during the day when it is hottest and air conditioners work at full power,” PSE also said.
Poland’s capacities in solar energy rose by 180% year on year to almost 1.7 GW as of April 1.
Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Steve Orlofsky