Renewables (RES) in heating

Heating and all of us in Poland have a problem. In domestic heating we rely on technologies from the 50s and 60s of the last century. In winter we have the worst quality air in the European Union. The society bears the enormous health costs related to air pollution - 120 billion PLN annually. We use primarily coal, which we are running out of, and we need to cover the costs of CO2 emission allowances. What next? Does coronavirus mean the end of dreams about clean air and the end of investments in modern technologies? Quite the opposite. Right now we should be looking at renewables.

What is the potential of RES? What technologies have a chance to develop? Are national production capacities sufficiently developed to realise such an ambitious rate of investment? In the latest report prepared jointly with the Institute for Renewable Energy, Forum Energii indicates how we can increase the RES share in heating to 40% by 2030.  

In 2019, in the Clean Heat 2030 strategy we identified four scenarios for improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions. One of them was the most ambitious plan - decarbonisation of heating by 2050. Even if for many people it is still a science fiction, today we present a piece of the path to achieving this goal.

We show that when increasing energy efficiency and changing the structure of fuel demand in heating, the RES share may reach 40% in 2030. In particular, we should focus on investments in three technologies: heat pumps, solar collectors and, as a transitional technology, pellet boilers. Supplementing them with power-to-heat technologies, biogas plants, heating storage and geothermal modules, we will be able to "green" the Polish heating sector within the next decade.

- says Marcin Ścigan, head of RES programme in Forum Energii.

- The technologies we recommend may be controversial. There are no ideal solutions that will satisfy everyone. The availability of resources, costs or production of components outside our country may raise doubts. However, the choice must be made because the era of coal is over.

adds Joanna Maćkowiak Pandera, President of Forum Energii.

Key figures

  • Achieving a 40% share of RES in the heating sector means an annual increase in RES capacity between 2020 and 2030 of 4 GWt.
  • The 21% improvement in energy efficiency will not only reduce the demand for heat in buildings, but will also significantly reduce investment costs.
  • The total investment expenditure on new RES technologies in the heating sector in the years 2020-2030 will amount to PLN 81.5 billion.
  • In 2030 we can achieve 72 GWt of heating capacity from RES.
  • 84 GWt is the total capacity of coal-based installations necessary for decommissioning by 2030 (in relation to 2016) in district and individual heating systems.

Why is it worth investing in RES?

Poland, moving away from coal, should take a step towards renewable sources, because in the long run they guarantee energy independence, reasonable costs, clean air and reduction of CO2 emissions. The development of RES in the heating sector should be accompanied by an ambitious industrial policy to expand the potential of the domestic production and installation sector and create as many jobs as possible in this area. Clean heat may become a flywheel for the Polish economy, which will need new development impulses after the coronavirus crisis.

concludes Maćkowiak-Pandera.

Date of publication:: 13 May 2020

Files to download

Report Report

Paweł Tokarczyk,

Patryk Pietrzak,

Aneta Więcka,

Justyna Zarzeczna,

Grzegorz Wiśniewski

- Instytut Energetyki Odnawialnej


Andrzej Rubczyński,

Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera,

Michał Jędra,

Rafał Macuk

– Forum Energii

Opieka merytoryczna 

Marcin Ścigan, Forum Energii