Five Lower Silesian municipalities establish the “Renewable Energy Cluster of the Lusatian Land”. This is the first project in Poland, implemented by municipal governments, to bring green energy to municipalities and their residents.
An energy cluster consortium was formed yesterday by the municipalities of Olszyna, Gryfów Śląski, Leśna, Siekierczyn and Lubań. The goal of this cooperative effort is the production of energy from renewable sources. Under the direction of the “Renewable Energy Cluster of the Lusatian Land” solar photovoltaic plants, bioenergy and geothermal power plants will be established. The energy produced from these sources will also be accessible to energy consumers within each municipality.
The establishment of this Energy Cluster will include the initiation of calls for investment towards the design and construction of renewable energy installations. Implementation of energy cluster projects will take place over a period of several years, but the first calls for investors will start within the next few months.
– Having obtained all the necessary approvals and other documentation required to proceed with the construction of a photovoltaic power plant, we can now move forward with attracting investors. The benefits of a local green energy producing plant include cheaper energy for residents and increased revenue and new jobs for the municipalities belonging to the energy cluster – says Leszek Leśko, Mayor of Olszyna.
Renewable energy installations are being planned for all communities within the energy cluster.
– We plan to locate a photovoltaic power plant at a former landfill site. As a result, this currently unused area, covering 3 hectares, will produce clean energy and, so, reduce the level of smog in the municipality. – adds Olgierd Poniźnik, Mayor of Gryfow Śląski.
Three lots, covering a total area of 7 ha in the rural municipality of Lubań, have been reserved for the construction of photovoltaic power plants. Local zoning plans also allow for these sites to be used for bioenergy projects.
– A 1.8 MW energy cluster solar pv plant project in Nawojów Śląski is currently in the advanced planning phase. This installation will provide clean energy for our community and bring about 350 thousand złoty in yearly income. Additionally, a planned biopower plant, to be installed in Henrykow Lubanski near the A4 motorway, which will serve to increase the attractiveness of the area to neighboring developments – says Zbigniew Hercuń, Mayor of Lubań.
The coordinator, Olszyna PS Energetyka Odnawialna Sp. z o.o., a partner project “Special Purpose Vehicle” company incorporated by Gmina Olszyna and Polski Solar Holding Sp. z o.o., will be responsible for preparing a development strategy of the investment within the “Renewable Energy Cluster of the Lusatian Land”. The establishment of the cluster also provides access to additional grants, including national and EU funding.
– Obtaining external investment through cooperation among local governments attracts far more opportunities than investment efforts carried out by individual municipalities – notes Leszek Leśko.
Ultimately, the cluster will allow municipalities to create an “Energy Island” which will provide each municipality with total energy independence. The Energy Cluster, which is coordinated by Olszyna PS, will produce a total installed power of 15 MW (average of 3 MW per municipality).
– The cluster will allow a more flexible and efficient control of energy production. This will provide savings for municipalities. According to our calculations, we will produce surplus energy that could be sold in those energy auctions which are dedicated to clusters – says Jacek Ryński, a member of the board of Olszyna PS Renewable Energy.
The operation of local energy clusters are regulated by the Renewable Energy Act, as renewed last year. The REA long-term goal is to restructure and modernize the Polish power industry towards the goal of a low-carbon producing energy economy.
The REA creates conditions for implementing local initiatives with particular emphasis on the use of renewable sources. According to the wording of the Act, operation of this type of cluster cannot exceed the boundaries of one county or five municipalities, and the coordinator of the cluster should be one of its members.
The renewable energy cluster, established by the municipalities of Olszyna, Gryfów Śląski, Leśna, Siekierczyn and Lubań, is the first such initiative in Poland to be implemented by local governments. 39 thousand people, who live in those five municipalities, stand to benefit.
– Renewable and diverse energy sources are the dominant trend in the world today. It can be said that energy is returning to its roots. Economic considerations, ecological awareness, and energy security are the arguments behind this solution. This is the future of the energy sector – concludes Jacek Ryński.