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Agnieszka TomaszewskaClimate Change and Energy Proj, Warsaw
I have recently come across two new interesting publications on CCS.
The first one: “One North Sea. A Study into North Sea cross - border CO2 transport and storage”, prepared by a consultancy Element Energy and commissioned by the North Sea Basin Task Force, describes the short-, medium- and long-term vision of CCS development in the North Sea region. It provides an analysis of the barriers that may accompany that process and presents recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of international cooperation between governments and the business circles, including sharing experience and searching for common solutions. The report contains a lot of very useful maps and diagrams; it is very clearly written and friendly even for a reader with no expertise on CCS. And although it concerns mainly the countries of the North Sea Basin, who initiated its production, it may well be used as a valuable source of guidelines also by other countries, including Poland.
More information about the One North Sea initiative and the report itself can be found on: http://www.element-energy.co.uk/sectors/carbonCaptureStorage/ons.html
Another publication worth reading during the holiday season is an American document “Report of the Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage”. “If we can develop the technology to capture the carbon pollution released by coal, it can create jobs and provide energy well into the future”, President Obama said when he appointed a special group of experts, a Task Force, in February this year, and charged it with preparing an analysis of the barriers impeding the development of CCS and with delivering recommendations on how to improve the process of CCS development in the US over the next 10 years. The results of their work, in the form of the above mentioned report, were delivered to President Obama on 17 August in Washington.
The full version of the report and its executive summary are available at:
Enjoy your reading.
Between 6-7 July, as part of the SPF LCHG project “Promoting energy mix solutions for business sectors”, a study visit was organised to Borzęcin in Poland and to Schwarze Pumpe in Germany. The aim of the visit was to learn about practical experience of the development of CCS technology – both in the part related to storage and to the capture of CO2 from fossil fuel burning installations.
Almost 40 experts who, in the coming years may be involved in the development of CCS in Poland, took part in the event. Below you can find a record of my interview with Ms. Ewa Gąsiorowska* of Vattenfall Polska S.A., who coordinated the initiative.
AT: Where did the idea of the visit originate?
EG: Polish energy companies are interested in the development of CCS technology. They see it as a chance to continue using coal for energy generation while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions. Some companies carry out their own work in this area but in the meantime we also get information about CCS development efforts undertaken all over the world, particularly in Western Europe and in the USA. The idea of a study visit to Borzęcin originated from the willingness to learn about Polish experience in geological storage of gases, including CO2, which has been applied in Poland for more than ten years now and has proved to be very safe. The Schwarze Pumpe plant in Germany is located not far from Borzęcin, so we decided to get acquainted with their experience in CO2 capture.
AT: Who took part in the visit? Where did those people come from?
EG: About 40 people took part in the event. They came mainly from energy companies, public administration (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Environment, Office of Technical Inspection, Polish Geological Institute) and other cooperating institutions
AT: What was the programme of the visit?
EG: As I mentioned before, the seminar began with a visit to the CO2 injection plant in Borzęcin, which belongs to the Polish Oil and Gas Company. First, a seminar was held there, during which Dr. Jan Lubaś (Borzęcin Natural Gas Mine ) presented information about the practical experience in capture and underground storage of CO2. The issues under discussion included also the activities of the Polish administration in relation to CCS as well as the legal issues. Then the participants visited the CO2 injection plant in Borzęcin.
Borzęcin is a place where for 15 years acid gases have been geologically stored in the natural gas bearing structure. At the beginning of 1996, an acid gas re-injecting installation was launched and it has been in continuous operation to this day. The gas is the by-products of the amine purification of natural gas, containing about 60% CO2 and 15% H2S and it is injected directly into the aquifer of the gas reservoir in Borzęcin. To date, more than 3 million m3 of acid gas has been injected into the aquifer. The continuous monitoring of the process parameters has so far confirmed its safety, taking into account the proper selection of materials and technology.
On the following day, the seminar participants went to the pilot CCS plant in Schwarze Pumpe near Spremberg in Germany. At the site, Mr. Lutz Piccard of Vattenfall presented information on CCS technology, and in particular on CO2 capture with the use of oxyfuel (combustion in pure oxygene). After a discussion, the participants visited the CO2 capture pilot plant and the Schwarze Pumpe power plant at which the installation is located. The installation in Schwarze Pumpe is a plant where carbon dioxide is captured from the flue gas produced in the process of burning coal in oxygen. The 30 MWth installation is a pilot one. It was originally assumed that the plant would operate for 5 years but recently it has been decided that extending its operation for a further 5 years is needed and justified. Currently, about 90% of carbon dioxide produced in the combustion process is captured but works are underway to increase this percentage. The captured carbon dioxide will be treated and prepared for transport and storage underground.
It is worth adding that a unique feature of the Schwarze Pumpe plant is its ability to test all the elements of the oxyfuel combustion technology. When the appropriate legal framework is in place (the installation is located in Germany), the transport and storage of CO2 will also be tested.
A pilot-scale plant serves the purpose of testing the whole process in an installation whose size makes it possible to draw reliable conclusions and provide evidence for the feasibility of the technology on the industrial scale. The subsequent stages of the development of this technology include construction of demonstration plants with capacity 10 times higher than that of Schwarze Pumpe. CCS demonstration plants are currently under construction in Europe, including Poland – in Bełchatów, where the demonstration installation is being built by PGE. Only the experience gathered on the demonstration scale will make it possible to commercialise this technology.
AT: Which aspects of the visit did the participants find the most interesting?
EG: In my view, an issue that raised a lot of interest was the high level of safety of CO2 underground storage. The experience of CO2 storage in Borzęcin shows that it is possible to apply and to control this process.
AT: What are the aspects that could not be covered during the event and are worth revisiting in future?
EG: The study visit participants emphasised that the programme enabled them to learn about the practical experience both in relation to CO2 capture and storage and, as for a two-day seminar, the programme was very intensive. It seems therefore that the visit has been very well designed. There is obviously a whole range of other issues worth discussing, such as financing of CCS, the commercialisation and the legal framework of the whole process.
AT: Any conclusions? Suggestions?
EG: It is definitely worthwhile to get to know the actual experience in the field of CCS and to base one’s judgement on the real knowledge of that technology. It is particularly important in Poland, where electricity is generated primarily from coal.
*Ewa Gąsiorowska – Specialist for regulatory affairs in Vattenfall Polska S.A.; she manages the legal team of the Polish Clean Coal Technologies Platform. Coordinator and consultant of the CCS programme within the PKPP Lewiatan project “Promoting energy mix solutions for business sectors”
Today I would like to tell you about on-line game developed by the Embassy staff, together with a local company One2Tribe and encourage you to play it. The aim of the game is to draw attention to the impact we, people, make on the climate and to the need for conscious energy management in our nearest environment. What is important, the game may be played by everyone, anywhere in the world.
I think that Ecogame is one of the most creative products that have ever been inspired by the Embassy and are available on the market for free to all avid game players and people interested in climate issues. Our Climate and Energy Team took part in the works on the very concept of the game, the product itself is, however, the creation of the Embassy’s Press Section, and in particular of Ola Murawska, who has coordinated the project all along. I do not know all the details of the game, so I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea to interview Ola and present the mini-interview to you:
AT: What is the Ecogame about?
Ola: The Eco-game is an ecological survival game placed in the arctic world of penguins. An exciting strategy within the internet browser where a player must lead a virtual tribe of amusing flightless creatures. Like in the classics, such as the Civilization or the SimCity, a player must conquer and urbanise new areas, at the same time fighting the ozone hole, radioactive waste and the greenhouse effect. The economic aspect is also important as is the impact made by other players with whom you compete. The Eco-game is entertainment of the best quality, spiced up with unconventional humour, and, in spite of its rather cool character, it has been very warmly received by the critics!
AT: With whom did we cooperate while developing the game?
Ola: As befits an Internet game, we have promoted it mainly on the Web. Information about the game appeared on a number of sites addressed to young players and also on educational sites, including the site of the Centre for Citizenship Education. Polish Ministry of Environment has liked the game, too and has promoted it on its own site Klimatolubni [Climatophiles] and on the Facebook. Onet – the biggest Polish web portal has given our game four stars – we do feel appreciated.
AT: Do we know how many people are already playing and how they are doing?
Ola: So far, more than four hundred players have decided to take over the responsibility for the herd of rather carefree penguins and have joined the game. Some of them are really good strategists!
AT: What do you need to do to join the Ecogame?
Ola: The game is available absolutely free of charge. All you need to do is to visit the site www.ecogame.pl, register and enter into the competition with other players. Good luck to you all!
22 May has been proclaimed the International Day for Biological Diversity and on that day the greatest number of events devoted to this subject took place. For instance, on that occasion, in the United Kingdom, the Minister for Natural Environment Richard Benyon met the curator of the Natural History Museum, Miranda Lowe and the presenters of the BBC Springwatch to announce the launch of the Young Darwin Prize.
The Green Week 2010 organised in Brussels between 1 and 4 of June was also devoted to the issue of biodiversity . The event was attended by representatives of a number of governments, including Poland and the UK. During over thirty meetings organised as part of the Week, including the presentation of information stands, participants could learn about the achievements of individual states, non-governmental organisations, representatives of business and the world of science in the field of protecting biological diversity.
The events in Brussels preceded the celebration of the World Environment Day, organised every year on 5 June. The Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly during a conference in Stockholm, on 5 June 1972. On this occasion, in over one hundred countries various environmental events and campaigns are organised in order to increase public awareness of the issues related to the protection of our planet.
Our Embassy tries to protect the environment every day, both through our initiatives that go outside the Embassy and through our internal initiatives, which I described in the previous entry, as well as through the partners with whom we cooperate on climate and energy projects. The Climate and Energy Team, of which I am a member, wishes to thank them for all their efforts to protect the natural environment every day and not just on the occasion of events such as the World Environment Day or the International Day of Biological Diversity.
After a few weeks break connected with the pre-election silence in the United Kingdom, (“election purdah”) I can return to writing my blog, which I am really happy to do :)
As you probably know, David Cameron is the new British Prime Minister, and Chris Huhne has been appointed the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. On 14 May, when visiting DECC , the Prime Minister announced that his would be the greenest government ever. The priorities of climate and energy policy will probably be announced in the coming weeks. However, climate and energy will remain important issues in the implementation of British foreign policy.
In the meantime, our Embassy is proposing environmentally friendly solutions. For a few months now we have been participating in the campaign “10:10” , which aims at reducing our own emissions by 10% in 2010. In the Embassy, we have a Green Team whose task is, among other things, to raise the environmental awareness of the staff and, indirectly, of the people we cooperate with.
We try to encourage others to save energy, recycle, sort waste or use less paper in our office work. Last week, for instance, we installed several bike racks and we encourage our visitors to use them as often as they can.
The visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in Poland between 15-17 March has probably been the most important event in the Embassy life in 2010. I had the pleasure to organise one of the events of the visit. It was a round-table meeting of business leaders devoted to the prospects of creating low carbon economy.
The meeting at the Sobański Palace in Warsaw was attended by more than twenty heads of companies from Poland and abroad, including CEMEX, Kingfisher, Kulczyk Investments, Skanska, Zakłady Azotowe Kędzierzyn S.A., PLL LOT, Curtis Group, Alstom, Tesco, Ecotech Polska S.A. and BZ WBK. The position of the Polish business on building the low carbon economy was presented by the President of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers, Ms. Henryka Bochniarz. Ms. Grażyna Henclewska, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Economy, spoke on behalf of the Polish government.
The meeting in Warsaw, organised jointly by PKPP Lewiatan, Polish Business Roundtable, the Club of the Polish Business Roundtable, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and the British Embassy initiated a dialogue between the heads of Polish companies and the Polish government about challenges related to building low carbon economy in Poland and the role that business may play in this process. Foreign companies referred to examples of solutions implemented by them on other markets. Those solutions have often not only contributed to fighting climate change but have also improved the competitiveness of the companies and their products. The discussion also touched upon legislation that could promote similar investment projects in Poland.
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales attended a part of the roundtable meeting. He not only listened to the discussion but also asked questions to the participants and talked about his almost twenty-year experience in climate protection and promotion of sustainable development. The debate was moderated by the coordinators of the initiative The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, Sandrine Dixon-Declève and Craig Bennet. I would like to express my sincere thanks to them and to Irma Allen of CLG for moderating the discussion on 17 March as well as for all their support in preparation to the meeting. I also wish to give special thanks to Ms. Daria Kulczycka, the Director of the Department of Energy and Climate Protection and Ms. Agata Sikorska, an environmental expert of PKPP Lewiatan, as well as to Ms. Magda Maciejewska of the Club of the Polish Business Roundtable. Without their great commitment and help, the roundtable meeting on the prospects of building low carbon economy in Poland would not only fail to succeed but would, quite possibly, not happen at all.
For myself, and I know that also for many of those who attended the round-table, meeting the Prince of Wales at the Sobański Palace and the discussion about climate was an extraordinary and memorable event. I also hope that, with time, we will be able to follow a continuation of that interesting debate.
A few very buy weeks have past since my last entry.
On 13 January, demosEuropa organised an international conference gathering almost 200 participants from Poland, Germany, Norway and other countries interested in applying CCS technology to fight climate change. It was one of a series of events planned under the demosEuropa project funded from the FCO Strategic Programme Fund Low Carbon High Growth [you can read about the details of that programme in my earlier blog entries]. Apart from a discussion of experts, a key element of the conference was the presentation of a report analysing political and legal solutions implemented in various countries which are considering a construction of CCS installations and including certain recommendations for Poland. A full report from the conference together with both, Polish and English versions of the document “How to efficiently implement CCS in Poland?” can be found at this site.
CCS, however, is not all that we have been working on recently. On 27 and 28 January we had a visit in Poland of experts from the organisation Friends of the Earth, Mary Taylor, and from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, James Hughes, who, during their meetings with Polish partners, talked about the history of the UK Climate Change Act. In particular, on 27 January, our UK visitors took part in a dinner organised by the Climate Coalition , addressed to non-governmental organisations, members of parliament, local governments and other social partners who may be interested in having a similar climate act adopted in Poland.
On the following day, 28 January, out UK guests gave presentations during an international conference “The Newest Dimensions of Climate Policy. Three ideas that make us free”. The conference was organised by Procesy Inwestycyjne, whose cooperating partners were, apart from us, the Embassy of Sweden and the Embassy of the United States in Warsaw. The speeches were followed by a lively discussion and dozens of questions from the floor, including issues such as the functioning of the UK Climate Act and the changes it has brought about. Professor Krzysztof Żmijewski of the Public Board of the National Programme for Reduction of Emissions, operating at the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Waldemar Pawlak, and at the same time the chief organiser of the conference, talked about what was needed to have a similar act prepared in Poland. One of the people listening closely to the debate, was Dr Andrzej Kraszewski, one of the conference moderators, who has been the new Minister of Environment since 1 February 2010. You can find more information about this interesting event at the website of Procesy Inwestycyjne. I encourage you to have a look.
Agata went to Szczecin together with the leader of a Lewiatan project devoted to biomass. He gave a presentation on production of crops for energy purposes, in particular, promoting a manual for farmers as part of the project “Promotion of solutions supporting low carbon energy generation” . The manual was very popular among the conference attendants – 300 copies were distributed during the conference break. According to Agata, it was a very well organised event. A significant number of media reports and the attendance of a few hundreds of people representing different industries confirm the growing interest in this subject.
A full report from the event can be found at the Internet website of the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodship Marshal's Office . I was particularly struck by the following passage: “Taking into account the natural conditions, resource base, intellectual potential and openness to innovation, together we may ensure that the use of biomass for energy purposes will become one of the new drivers for the economic and intellectual development of our voivodship.” I will be following the further development of the project with great interest, as I think that it may be one of the ways allowing Poland to fulfil its obligations related to the share of renewable energy sources in energy generation, imposed on the EU Member States by the Climate and Energy Package.
I would like to use this opportunity and on behalf of the Climate and Energy Unit of the British Embassy in Warsaw wish all our readers prosperity, a lot of fascinating initiatives and projects and dreams coming true in the New Year 2010.
It was another occasion on which experts admitted that CCS is one of the ways to reduce carbon emissions. They emphasised, however, that CCS is an example of a process in which political will has gone ahead of technological development. It was stated that energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources can reduce carbon dioxide emissions but only to a certain, technically limited extent. If we want to reduce the emissions further, CCS technology is a possible solution. However, in order to implement it, it is necessary to construct demonstration facilities, ensure appropriate legislation and public acceptance.
A report from the meeting with the media, including a list of the most urgent issues, has been placed on the internet portal wnp.pl . The items on the list largely coincide with the themes identified during the meeting between representatives of the government, science and business circles, devoted to legislative and institutional solutions necessary for implementing CCS in Poland. That meeting took place on 17 November, as part of a demosEuropa project “CCS as a preferred technology for mainstreaming the clean use of coal in Poland”, and a report from that event can be found under this link . Both articles describe the state of preparations for implementing CCS technology in Poland. I really recommend both texts.
On 5 November, at the Embassy conference centre, about 80 people gathered to find out more about a publication of the Foundation for the Development of Polish Agriculture (FDPA) “Renewable energy sources and measures for adapting to climate change in agriculture and in rural areas – examples of EU experience”. Apart from the speeches of the Ambassador and the President of the Foundation, we had an opportunity to listen to a discussion of ten experts – the authors of the publication. The discussion was facilitated by the Editor-in-Chief of the „Czysta Energia” [Clean Energy] monthly. The experts agreed that climate change was taking place. They also gave some specific examples of changes in nature which were a consequence of climate change. An amusing but at the same time a bitter example was given by Anna Grzybek, PhD, the book’s scientific editor. She talked about the extinction of male aphids. I suppose that a lot of us immediately thought about a very popular Polish comedy film, “Sex Mission”, presenting a world without men.
One of the chapters of the FDPA publication has been devoted to renewable energy in the United Kingdom. I would like to use this opportunity and thank our colleagues from DECC and FCO for their assistance in collecting the materials. Those who are interested in the contents of the publication should check the following link.
On Monday, 9 November, together with my colleague from the Press & Communications section we accompanied the Ambassador to the Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw to participate in the final stage of another, spring-summer edition of the social campaign run by the Centre for Citizenship Education (CEO) “Active by nature. Climate change – be a solution” . On this occasion, teams representing twenty schools from all over the country came to Warsaw. For the event, young people had prepared special stands presenting the projects implemented in their area, took part in workshops given by experts and had an opportunity to meet their peers from other regions. It was a truly unusual event and very spectacular too, with prospects for developing to a larger scale in future. In his address, Mr. Krzysztof Stanowski, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education highlighted the importance of projects promoting protection of climate implemented by young people. He said something that particularly appealed to me: “Solidarity means responsibility for other people”.
On the occasion of the CEO event, the Ambassador has been interviewed by Polish Radio. In the interview he has talked about the work of our Climate and Energy Unit, and cooperation with Polish government and organisations involved in projects promoting low carbon economy. The Ambassador has also mentioned the example of a British campaign “Act on CO2”, which, similarly to the CEO project, is addressed to the public, including young people of school age.
Thanks to the Press & Communications section of the Embassy, a short video of the event in the Palace of Science and Culture will soon be ready. We will place it on our website, which I strongly encourage you to visit regularly.
While focusing in my work on project coordination, I do not have much time to surf the web looking for information. And yet, there are two websites that I would like to recommend to you in view of the coming Climate Summit in Copenhagen.
The first one, “Act on Copenhagen”, is an official site of the UK government, containing information about the activities of various groups which strive for an ambitious global climate agreement in Copenhagen. Views of business people appear here side by side with scientific experts opinions and interviews with government officials. Recently, an interactive map of the world has been launched, illustrating probable economic and social consequences of an increase of air temperature by 4 degrees Celsius as a result of climate change. The map has been developed by distinguished scientists from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre. Its copies have just been sent to foreign ministers of a number of countries, vital for the success of the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen. I know that the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Radosław Sikorski received the map on 22 October.
The “Act on CO2” website contains valuable guidance on what every one of us can do in our own households or workplaces in order to reduce CO2 emissions. The carbon footprint calculator available on the page will let you calculate the amount of carbon emissions resulting from all your activities and prepare an individual carbon footprint reduction plan. Most of us will not go to the Copenhagen summit but we can all do something good for the climate by changing our ways.
In the afternoon, we arrived at the Warsaw School of Economics, where Ed Miliband gave a speech on why it is necessary to sign an ambitious global agreement to address climate change. In the Minister’s opinion, both moral arguments and responsibility for the planet we are going to leave to future generations as well as economic reasons call for such a solution. The cost of tackling climate change is currently estimated at the level of 1% GDP, but if we decide to act only in ten or twenty years, the cost will be much higher. Ed Miliband also said that in order to reduce the costs of CO2 emissions, China, India and other big economies of the world should actively join the fight against climate change. The Minister indicated, however, that according to the UK, rich countries should support developing countries financially and help fund the projects leading to carbon reduction, as it would be impossible for those countries to finance such expensive projects on their own. At the end of his speech, Mr. Milliband quoted Jacek Kuroń, who said “Who if not you?”, the question that reminds us all that we are the ones who are responsible for what is happening around us and for the legacy we are going to leave to future generations. I think that these words could be a good motto for the Copenhagen summit.
I must say that I really enjoyed the question-and-answer part of the lecture, with questions asked by the audience: students, non-governmental organisations and representatives of business. While answering those questions, Ed Miliband had to talk about things as diverse as the role of business in fighting climate change and support that could be given by individual governments, through nuclear energy, to Al Gore’s documentary, to what UK would perceive as a success of the Copenhagen Summit, with only 60 days to the conference date.
The visit in Woking , Leicester and Southampton took place in mid September and was one of our very special projects. Polish experts had an opportunity to see some practical aspects of fighting climate change and to visit the projects recently completed in those cities. The sites included railway stations, sports centres with roofs covered with solar panels and photovoltaic cells as well as small CHP units generating heat and electricity for the local area. The participants also visited cultural centres and houses of highest energy efficiency standards.
I know that it has been a very good study visit so I would like to thank all our partners involved in organising it. The photos I’ve received will be used to illustrate the interview that I’m going to carry out with the participants. We will publish the interview on our Embassy website and will make it available to all organisations interested in the UK experience with tackling climate change.
The United Kingdom and the EU member states are trying to make the obligations that will be undertaken in Copenhagen ambitious. That is why the UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has recently visited a few European capitals in order to talk about climate and energy issues. On 8 September he visited Poland. The visit was an important event in the life of our Embassy.
One of the points of his agenda was a visit to the “Siekierki” heat and power station in Warsaw, where he was accompanied by the Polish and Swedish foreign ministers, Radosław Sikorski and Carl Bildt. The “Siekierki” heat and power station is owned by Vattenfall Poland. It is the largest CHP facility in Poland and the second largest in Europe. In the years 2007-2008 the Swedish investor modernised the plant, which made it possible to significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. At the moment, in its plants, Vattenfall Poland is implementing one of the biggest environmental programmes in Poland. Their most immediate investment plans include construction of a CCS installation.
Our Climate and Energy Team cooperates with Vattenfall Poland and Vattenfall Heat Poland on a project implemented by the Polish Confederation of Private Employers Lewiatan. The project concerns low emission solutions for business (“Promoting low carbon energy mix solutions for business sectors”) and is financed from the UK Foreign Office fund promoting low carbon economy while sustaining high economic growth (“Strategic Programme Fund Low Carbon High Growth”). The aims of the project include raising awareness of CCS in Poland and promoting the use of biomass for energy purposes.
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