Poland is one of the EU’s largest polluters and home to the Union’s dirtiest power plant. This has taken its toll on the country’s air quality and the health of its citizens.
To help Poland tackle this problem and convert to renewables, the EU-funded SUPREME project connected one of the country’s best energy research centres with the EU’s leading energy institutions – encouraging an exchange of skills and expertise.
Over 36 months, SUPREME helped staff at Poland’s IMP PAN centre to network with researchers in Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria. Together, the experts worked to develop a technical transition plan – envisioning how Poland could produce and consume different forms of sustainable energy in both local and regional systems.
Knowledge shared through the project – which ended in October 2018 – has equipped IMP PAN to become an influential voice on Poland’s transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
‘Before SUPREME, we weren’t cooperating with government agencies but now we do,’ says Ewa Domke, project coordinator and IMP PAN’s manager of international cooperation. ‘We are invited to expert group meetings, so our voice is being heard.’
Not only is IMP-PAN’s voice now heard in government, but in industry too. The research centre is helping automobile companies such as Toyota and Nissan prepare for the future of electric cars in Poland by testing charging points and brainstorming how they could be connected to the main power grid.
Blueprint for the future
Staff at the centre have also helped to initiate a ‘micro-energy cluster’ – a community that produces energy locally, from renewable sources.
IMP PAN acts as the community’s expert advisor, helping to design the local grid and testing how new technologies will impact the national grid.
‘At the beginning of the project, we didn’t have enough competence to advise or be part of this. But thanks to trainings and knowledge we got from our partners from Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria, we have been able to model, design and test smart energy systems,’ says Domke.
‘When you want to change something, either it’s a revolution, when everything starts from scratch, or it’s a slow step-by-step process,’ she adds. ‘We are part of this small step by step in Poland towards sustainability.’.