Nearly 9,000 entities in Poland are involved in district heating but almost 90 % of them consume heat only to satisfy their own needs, which means they do not supply it to third parties. Out of 10 % of heat supply companies only a small number hold a licence to generate heat in sources with the total installed capacity exceeding 5 MWt or transmit and distribute heat with the total power ordered by consumers exceeding 5 MWt.


At the end of 2014 the number of license holders was 451. These are not only typical district heating companies but also industrial plants and service providers for which district heating is a marginal activity.

For 57 % of them district heating is the core activity, whereas for about 20 % the activities which must be licensed by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) are marginal in their economic activity.


In Poland the main primary fuel used to generate heat is hard coal. The chart below illustrates the structure of fuels used to produce heat in 2014.



District heating systems in Poland


With regard to the local nature of district heating there are as many district heating systems as there are cities and towns in which district heating networks operate. The infrastructure is operated by local district heating companies of different kinds, depending on their type economic activity. In large cities (Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Szczecin and other) generation and transmission of heat were two separate tasks assigned to different entities, whereas in smaller cities and in towns heat supply companies take care of both. The largest district heating systems in Poland are:


The Warsaw System

• Siekierki CHP Plant – capacity 2,078 MWt and 622 MWe; the largest

CHP Plant in Poland;

• Żerań CHP Plant – capacity 1,580 MWt and 386 MWe;

• Kawęczyn Heating Station – capacity 512 MWt;

• Wola Heating Station – capacity 465 MWt;


This district heating network with a length totalling 1,650 km is the largest in the European Union. Heat and hot water are supplied to 80 % of buildings in Warsaw. Heat sources are the property of PGNiG Termika S.A., and the owner of the network is Dalkia Warszawa S.A.


The Kraków System

• CHP Plant in Łęg – capacity 1,118 MWt and 460 MWe, covers 73 % of the heat requirement of Kraków. It is owned by EDF Poland, First Branch in Kraków;

• Skawina Power Plant (owned by CEZ) – has a capacity of 588 MWt at its disposal, of which the Municipal Heat Supply in Kraków orders 300 MWt, which satisfies 23 % of the heat requirement of Kraków;

• Power Station of Mittal Steel Poland S.A. – 4 % of the requirement.


The district heating network totalling 800 km in length is owned by the municipal heat supply company Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej S.A. in Kraków.


The Łódź System

• CHP Plant No. 2 – capacity 578 MWt and 87 MWe;

• CHP Plant No. 3 – capacity 920 MWt and 206 MWe;

• CHP Plant No. 4 – capacity 840 MWt and 210 MWe.


The district heating network totalling 790 km in length is owned by Dalkia Łódź S.A. in which Dalkia Polska S.A. holds 92.07 % of shares.


The Gdańsk System

• Gdańska CHP Plant – capacity 726 MWt and 226 MWe – owned by EDF Wybrzeże S.A.;


The district heating network totalling 670 km in length (in Gdańsk and Sopot) is the property of the Gdańsk Heat Supply Company with the following capital structure: Stadtwerke Leipzig GmbH – ca. 82 % of shares and the Municipality of Gdańsk – ca. 18 % of shares.


The Poznań System

• Poznań Karolin CHP Plant – capacity 843 MWt and 276 MWe;

• Garbary Heating Station (planned for liquidation) – capacity ca. 250 MWt.


The district heating network with the total length of 500 km is the property of Dalkia Poznań S.A. in which 99.92 % of shares are held by Dalkia Polska S.A. The sources of heat are the property of Dalkia Poznań Zespół Elektrociepłowni S.A. The shares of this company are held by Dalkia Polska S.A. – 52.68 % and Dalkia Poznań S.A. – 45.09 %.


The Wrocław System

• Wrocław CHP Plant – capacity 812 MWt and 263 MWe;

• Czechnica CHP Plant – capacity 247 MWt and 100 MWe;

• Zawidawie CHP Plant – 24.2 MWt.


The CHP plants are the property of Zespół Elektrociepłowni Wrocławskich KOGENERACJA S.A., the only district heating company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Its shareholding structure is as follows: EDF (three different companies) – 50 %, Open Pension Fund (three different funds) – 23.32 % and other small stockholders – 26.68 %. The district heating network in Wrocław is 505 km long. Its major part is the property of Fortum Power and Heat Polska Sp. z o.o. and KOGENERACJA S.A. has a minority share.



District heating prices


Aheating enterprise sells heat (a heat distribution service) to an individual consumer, such as an owner of a single-family house, or to a mass consumer, such as a multi-family building administrator acting on behalf of a consumer group, such as a housing cooperative or a housing community. The basis for settlements between the supplier and the consumer are readings (indications) of heat consumption meters. A mass consumer (administrator) uses a specific distribution key to divide the heat purchase costs among individual inhabitants. The key can be based in particular on the floor space of a flat or the number of persons occupying the premises. Other parameters may also be applied, as agreed within a specific consumer group. Another option is the use of heat cost allocators, which are treated as a substitute for heat meters.


Finally, the amount of individual charges (PLN/m2 or PLN/person) should be established in such a way that the costs of heat purchase by a mass consumer are equal to the sum of charges paid by a given consumer group. Therefore, the ultimate cost of heat supplied to a flat will depend both on the quantity and price of heat purchased by a consumer and the reliability of the distribution key.


The quantity of heat purchases depends on weather conditions (which no one is able to influence) and on the heat losses in a building to which heat is supplied (here the inhabitants' role cannot be underestimated). The price of heat purchased by a consumer is specified in the contract between the supplier and the mass consumer (administrator). It is regulated (approved) by the Energy Regulatory Office. The price of heat that is supplied to consumers depends on the costs of production (2/3) and the costs of transmission (1/3). In coal-fired heating stations about half of production costs is the cost of fuel, in other plants, the share is much higher.


Polish district heating sector against the European background


An organisation that associates business entities involved in the district heating sector, primarily owners and managers of municipal infrastructure used for the production, processing, storage, transmission, distribution and selling of heat is the POLISH DISTRICT HEATING Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw. The Chamber was established for an indefinite period, and is active both in Poland and abroad. A member of the Chamber may be any entity operating in Poland in any organisational and legal form whose activities are related to district heating.



The primary goal of the Chamber is to initiate the processes aimed at modernisation and comprehensive development of district heating to align it with ever changing needs, and participate in such processes, which primarily include:


• integration of the communities of individuals and legal persons that are involved in the district heating sector;

• representing economic interests of entities associated in the Chamber in contacts with state and local government authorities, as well as social partners and scientific and economic institutions;

• promotion of modern technical and economic knowledge;

• cooperation in preparing programmes aimed at development, modernisation and reconstruction of district heating;

• shaping the environment that is conducive to the development of district heating; inspiring, preparing and carrying out content-related assessments of relevant bills and amendments to the existing legislation.


The POLISH DISTRICT HEATING Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1998 resulting from transformation of the “Heat Engineering” Chamber of Commerce established in 1994 following the initiative of heat engineers and the merger with the Foundation for the Development of District Heating “Heat Distribution Union” into one organisation of business self-government. Currently the Chamber comprises more than 240 member institutions of varying size and structure, including municipal companies, limited liability companies, joint stock companies and civil partnerships, state enterprises and budgetary establishments, which sell varying quantities of heat: from less than 100,000 GJ to more than 40,000,000 GJ per year.


In Europe, problems of district heating are taken up by Euroheat&Power – an organisation based in Brussels. It is active in the field of combined generation of heat and electricity, as well as heating and cooling areas throughout Europe and beyond. It brings together members from over thirty countries, including all existing national associations of the district heating sector in the EU countries, operators of heating systems, associations of producers, research institutes, consultants and other organisations involved in the district heating business. 


Euroheat&Power represents the sector's interests at the political level, in particular in relations with the European institutions and other international organisations. It publishes studies, reports, a monthly electronic newsletter for its members and other informational materials. The association manages a public website and a member-only intranet site. It is also a co-editor of the international Euroheat&Power magazine. Poland's representative in Euroheat&Power is the Polish District Heating Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw.