Podhale Region

Member state POLAND
Case study  Podhale
Description The Podhale Region is visited by more than 4 million tourists each year. But the area has been affected by intensive pollution because of burning large quantity of coal. Therefore the geothermal project is crucial to preserve the environement. The geothermal district heating provides heat for housing, public buildings and tourist hotels.
Region>City>location The Podhale Region / S-Poland – Inner Carpathians
Owner Stakeholders of PEC Geotermia Podhalanska SA: NFEPWM* (89%), several local municipalities, other entities
Operator PEC Geotermia Podhalanska SA
Installed capacity
( MWth)
Total 80,5 incl: 40.7 MW geoth., 39.8 MW gas peak
Installed geothermal capacity 40.7 MWth = 40 000.7 kWth
DH length
~75 km
Inhabitants connected ~ 1600 buldings (large >30 kW, small <30 kW heat consumers), ca. 30% of heat market in Zakopane (part from 30 000 inhabitants, public buildings, several hudreds thousands tourists in hotels and boarding houses  
 Operating Temperature of the DH 95/70°C
Temperature of the geothermal ressource
(production – injection)
86 – 60°C
Geothermal flow
approved reserves max. 690 m3/h max (real up to 500 m3/h) – additional ~200 m3/h expected from new well in 2014 
Heat Pump
if any
(power in Mwe and COP)
No heat pump (in consideration; 2014)
Production of heating and/or cooling 383 TJ/2012 geoth. (total 513 TJ/2012), no cooling via the net (small scale cooling in operator’s office building) 
Others uses
(drinking water, cascade uses…)
part of water cooled in heat exchangers sold to recreation center (swimming pools, space and tap water heating), second recreation centre based on cooled geothermal water expected to be opened in 2014
Dates of begining and end of construction 1995, system still under development, optimisation, modernisation, etc.
Planing of the operation
(from pre-studies to full completion)
from pre studies to full operation: ca. 20 years (1981 – 2001)* 1981 – first idea to use geothermal water discovered by exploration well for heating. 1987 – Elaboration of Project of several drillings and other works to evalute geothermal parameters and conditions of geothermal exploitation and use in the Podhale region, 1988-1992 – several wells confirmed geothermal water occurence,   
Investement for
geothermal well
Wells (five so far) drilled over wide span of time (1981 – 2013). The cost of the newest well (TVD 3.5 km, 2013) was ca. 8 mio eur. 
Investement for
geothermal heating station
Geothermal heat exchangers station + two deep wells (3.2, 2.9 km) done in 1997-2000 ca. 9 mio eur (acc. to initial value), pipeline production-injection wells and injection pumps’ station: 9 mln PLN (2.2. mio Eur)
Investement for
DH network and substation
Costs of main investments items in 1987-2003 (1 eur=4.1 PLN /2014): Peak Load Plant: ca. 36 mio PLN (now ~9 mio eur), distribution network: 108.5 mio PLN (~27 mio eur/2014).  In 2003-2014 some new futher investments were done (several dozen of mio PLN)
(banks, funds, PPP…)
Word Bank (credit – paid back by other entity in 2004; GEF grant); DEPA grant, USAiD grant, DEPA grant, NFEPWM shares, Voievodeship Fund EPWM – loan, Bank Pekao SA – loan, EU funds – eg. Regional Operational Programs
Amount of Subsidies
if any
Ca. 50% share of grants/subsidies in total investment costs by 2003 
Difficulties faced Project v. long since initiative to realisation /due to economic and political change in 1989, devaluation, etc.). Than long and complex administration procedures, long period to receive exploitation license (now shorter), falling into several regulations typical for mining activities, etc. 
Administrative permits License for geothermal water exploitation (production, injection) required (since 2012 issued by regional administration, before – by the minister of environment), EIA required, several permits required acc. to various legal acts  
Cost of the produced MWh according to Polish Energy Law the cost of energy production is similar to the price of energy sales (incl. all costs of the energy source and district heating, for heating sources >5MW)
Cost of the MWh sold 47 Euro/MWh (net, including distribution costs)
Comparison with fossil energies  37-101 Euro / MWh (net value, including distribution)
Taxes VAT 23% for heat price 
Pay back Pay back period: ca. 20 yrs (1998-2008) – v. long due to specific of the project (economic change in 1989, devaluation, constructing many crucial installations from scratch /wells, geothermal and peak load stations, transmission pipeline 2×14 km, distribution network . 75 km, difficulties to obtain funds in some periods, etc.). But since 2008 positive economic balance, essential ecological effects, social acceptance, heat prices comparable / lower than from coal and gas (!). Growing market demand 

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