Normally, storms have little to no benefit to areas through which they blow. But a recent killer storm in Poland had an unusually good effect for once: it helped generate a record amount of natural energy – practically 30% of the country’s total power demand.
According to Maciej Wapinski of the Polish Power System (PSE), gale-force winds from a storm that hit the country on Wednesday, February 16th, enabled wind farms in Southern Poland to generate a record amount of 6,700 megawatts. The power covered a good part of the nation’s power demand, which stood at 24,000 megawatts.
However, as the storm grew worse over the weekend, the safety measure built into a number of these turbines kicked in, shutting them down to prevent significant damage. This caused power generation to drop down to around 15%, half of the original amount registered at the storm’s onslaught. Likewise, the raging winds also destroyed numerous power lines throughout the affected region.
Inroads to Sustainable Energy
While Poland has been making inroads towards the use of sustainable power sources to generate enough energy to fuel the nation, it is still predominantly reliant on coal. Indeed, black and brown coal makes up around 65% of the country’s total energy generation component. Nevertheless, Polish environmentalists and physicians have repeatedly advised the public regarding the adverse long-term impact of coal combustion on the environment and human health.
An additional 6% of Poland’s energy generation comes from gas-fired power plants. However, the bulk of fuel involved in this form of generation is still sourced from Russia, which may prove to be imprudent and expensive, given how the current crisis in Ukraine may affect gas production, distribution, and costs.
According to Polish Wind Energy Association chief Janusz Gajowiecki, wind-generated power only accounts for 10% of the countryís annual energy output. However, Gajowiecki says that there is great potential for the wind power sector to expand its role.
Energy generated from renewable sources only accounts for 25% of the country’s total power mix. Still, the number is rising steadily as wind, and solar energy providers are stepping up their game through improved facilities and more stable service. As a result, wind-generated energy makes up nearly half of Polandís energy output from renewables, while the remainder is generated via solar panels.