Participants, Members of the Electricity Market
Electricity is a commodity traded on the competitive energy market. Like any other commodity, electricity is produced by its generators, purchased by intermediaries, and then sold to individual customers, businesses, and institutions. Just like any other commodity, it must be delivered from the producer to the customer.
1. Energy Producers in Poland:
System Power Plants. Currently, there are 19 system power plants in Poland, also known as system power plants, where electricity is generated from the combustion of brown coal and hard coal. These power plants produce 75% of the total energy consumed in the country. The largest among these power plants include Bełchatów, Opole, Turów, as well as Połaniec, Kozienice, Rybnik, and Dolna Odra.
Combined Heat and Power Plants (CHP), simultaneously generating both electricity and heat, are operational in Poland. Currently, there are over 50 CHP plants located near major urban agglomerations, such as Warsaw, including PGNiG Termika – Żerań CHP, and in Wrocław, like the Cogeneration Plant. Industrial CHP plants are also situated in the vicinity of larger industrial facilities.
Renewable Energy Sources (RES), including hydroelectric power plants, wind sources often grouped into several or a dozen units forming so-called “wind farms,” sources where electricity is generated as a result of biomass combustion, typically wood or plants grown specifically for burning, sources where electricity is generated through biogas combustion, and photovoltaic sources.
The environmentally friendly production of electricity is crucial in the market; however, it is important to note that an absolute portion of electricity will be produced for decades in large coal and nuclear power plants. The increasing demand for energy in Poland dictates the necessity of constructing a nuclear power plant, with its commissioning planned for the year 2024.
2. Energy Trading:
- Energy Sales: Companies involved in energy trading, known as trading firms, purchase energy from producers and sell it to consumers. Prices and contract terms are individually negotiated between the selling company and the buyer.
- Energy Transport: Due: to the fact that losses associated with the transmission of electric energy are inversely proportional to the voltage at which it is transmitted, electric energy is transported through lines with the highest possible voltage. Drawing an analogy to road transportation, transmission networks can be compared to highways connecting major cities (power plants, substations), while distribution networks are like national roads, leading from highways to smaller towns and localities (energy consumers).
Electricity is transported through::
- Transmission Networks: These operate at voltages of 220 kV and 400 kV and are owned by Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne S.A. (Polish Power Grid), through which energy is transported directly from power plants to the so-called Main Supply Points ( or GPZ),
- Distribution Networks: These operate at voltages ranging from 230 V to 110 kV and are owned by energy distributors. They transport energy from GPZs directly to end consumers.
Distribution System Operators (DSOs) manage these distribution networks. In Warsaw, RWE Operator serves this role. Other DSOs are part of the four energy groups operating in Poland: Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Tauron, Enea, and Energa.
3. Electricity Customers
Electricity customers in Poland encompass households, businesses, institutions, and other organizations. The energy sector in Poland is liberalized, meaning that consumers have the option to choose their electricity provider based on their preferences, including both price and energy sources.
Key customer groups for electricity in Poland include:
- Households: The largest customer group consists of households. Individual consumers use electricity to meet their domestic needs, such as lighting, heating, cooking, and electronic devices.
- Industry and Businesses: The industrial sector and various businesses are significant consumers of electricity. Their energy needs are typically much greater than those of households, covering areas like production, machinery, and equipment.
- Public and Educational Institutions: Schools, universities, hospitals, administrative offices, and other institutions use electricity to power buildings, lighting, medical equipment, and other necessities.
- Services: Companies offering various services, such as banks, stores, offices, restaurants, etc., are also electricity customers, using it to power electrical devices and maintain business functions.
- Agriculture: In agriculture, electricity is utilized for irrigation systems, ventilation, and powering various equipment on farms.
- Other Industries: Various industrial sectors, including mining, chemical, metallurgical, and others, are also crucial consumers of electricity.
In Poland, the electricity market has been liberalized, fostering competition among different energy providers. Consumers have the flexibility to choose their supplier, influencing the competitiveness of prices and commercial offers. This benefits consumers who can seek more attractive contract terms and more sustainable energy sources.