Clean heat 2030 | Strategy for heating


In the report "Clean Heat 2030. Strategy for heating" Forum Energii examined how to make heating no longer a source of smog in Poland by 2030 in a cost-effective and socially acceptable way. According to the analysis, health costs of pollutants can be reduced by 50% within a decade and dust emissions from individual heating by 91%. At the same time, CO2 emissions from heating will fall by 30%. 

The report of the Forum Energii refers to the whole area of heating, both district heating and individual heating systems. If we take a very conservative approach, the external costs of smog exceed PLN 16 billion annually. These heat production costs are not included in the production price. Poles, however, bear these costs by paying for them with poorer health and suffering the consequences of climate change. 

No one needs to be convinced that air quality in Poland needs to improve. That is why we did not analyse whether, but how to do it until 2030. We focused on  heating. We tried to get two for the price of one - eliminate smog from heating and reduce CO2 emissions.

- says Dr. Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera, President of the Forum Energii. In the group of the best Polish experts, we have defined an action plan that can gain social acceptance and be cost-effective at the same time. We aimed for synergy with European objectives until 2030. In this way, we will be able to gain additional sources of financing. 

The modernisation of heating must be based on two pillars - improving energy efficiency and eliminating the use of solid fuels in households by 2030. We need to replace coal with other sources.

- says Andrzej Rubczyński, heating strategy director in Forum Energii. Thermomodernization, on the other hand, cannot be sloppy, it must be effective. This is the only way to reduce dust emissions by more than 90%, and the health costs of smog will be cut by half. In addition, CO2 emissions from heating will be reduced by 30%. We have calculated that the share of heat cost in the household budget may increase by up to 2 percentage points in the short term and it will start to decrease in the long term. 

Forum Energii, together with experts from KAPE, IBS and IGCP, have analysed different scenarios for transition - more and less ambitious. The first and most important step to be taken is to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Without it, exchanging heat sources for less polluting ones would result in an increase in costs. 

The Polish heating industry has been hit by the crisis. Poles inhale the worst quality air in the European Union. Appropriate regulations for households are being implemented too slowly and district heating systems are facing problems. Deep modernization of heating is necessary. Without it, air quality will worsen and heating costs will rise. 

The vast majority of district heating systems in Poland are inefficient according to European law and, without changing this situation, they are threatened with closure in the long term. Investments in district heating networks are needed. 

In the report, Forum Energii also suggests the elimination of solid fuels from individual heating by 2030. Domestic coal-fired furnaces are the most significant source of pollution in Poland. Households consume 12 million tonnes of coal, which is 66% of the total volume in the European Union. Coal should be replaced, depending on local conditions, by connection to district heating networks, temporarily by gas or pellets. Electrification shall be the future of heating in Poland. Even if it seems unrealistic now, in 10 years time it may turn out to be a unique opportunity.  It is important to be prepared for such change. 

It will be important to take care of the poorest and those who may not be able to cope with the exchange of heating sources. For about 8% of the population, even a small increase in the energy price may be unbearable. A fair and transparent cost-sharing mechanism is essential to reach a compromise and build public acceptance. We need to begin by repairing energy allowances that are currently not working properly.


1. Setting national targets for air quality improvement and CO2 reduction

  • Setting targets for air quality, energy efficiency and CO2 reduction.
  • Define dates and establish monitoring of progress

2. Buildings

  • Financing mechanisms. Building standards. Technical support. Specific dates.

3. Individual heating

  • Replacement of solid fuels with other heating sources by 2030

4. Modernisation plan for district heating networks

  • Replacing inefficient heating systems into efficient ones (according to the European law). Network modernization.

5. Combating energy poverty

  • Repair of energy allowances. Education and technical support.

6. Defining the catalogue of key technologies

  • Key technologies focus.

7. More competences for local authorities

  • Inventory of heating sources. Exert support provided on local level. Funds.

8. Financing

  • Program for district heating, CO2 targets for 2030. Modernisation Fund, CO2 revenues. The introduction of the „polluter pays” principle. Increase the collectability of existing environmental penalties.

9. Communication with the citizens

  • Smog threats, necessity of changes, mechanisms, goals.

The strategy for heating presented by Forum Energii aims at building such a system that will provide heat at a good price and will guarantee life in a clean environment for the next generations - through a significant reduction of dust and greenhouse gas emissions.

The analysis was carried out as part of the "Clean Heat - International Cooperation Forum" project with the support of EUKI - European Climate Initiative.

The European Climate Initiative (EUKI) is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). Its implementation is supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

The opinions put forward in this report are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect neither the views of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety nor other partners.

Preparation od the report and substantive supervision: Andrzej Rubczyński


Krajowa Agencja Poszanowania Energii – Paweł Gilewski, Piotr Gutowski, Magda Jóźwiak, Joanna Ogrodniczuk, Wojciech Stańczyk, Tadeusz Skoczkowski, Agata Skrzypek, Arkadiusz Węglarz, Anna Wierzchołowska-Dziedzic

Instytut Badań Strukturalnych – Aneta Kiełczewska, Piotr Lewandowski, Jakub Sokołowski

Cooperation: dr Joanna Maćkowiak Pandera, dr Jan Rączka, Rafał Macuk, 

Date of publication: April 2019


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