HOT|COOL NO. 4/2020 - "Large and Growing Markets"

Warmia and Masuria are in full swing, saying goodbye to coal and welcoming green fuels, and reducing emissions and landfill gasses.

By: Konrad Nowak, Chairman of the Managing Board of MPEC Sp. z o.o.

Nicholas Copernicus and his green haven Olsztyn is the largest city in north-eastern Poland, dubbed the Land of Thousand Lakes. The city is home to 170 thousand people, with 1.4 million living in the region. The town is over 650 years old, picturesquely located among forests and lakes, including one of Europe's largest city parks – the City Woods. The city was also where Nicholas Copernicus resided and wrote his theses and which today, as the capital of Warmia and Masuria, is a dynamically expanding agglomeration. Michelin, the world tire industry leader, has its production facilities here. The tire industry is a crucial sector for the regional development strategy, together with the lumber and furniture industry and high-quality food. A long, long time ago Olsztyn District Heating Company dates back to the 1970s', although district heating (DH) in Olsztyn started as early as 1888-1890, when the city gas plant was equipped with steam boilers, in addition to gas boilers. Coal was used to heat the first buildings, and the heat was delivered via brick canals. Then the number of local boiler rooms mushroomed until the Second World War when many were destroyed. Only 240 remained, and 80% of which non-functional. In Olsztyn's early 1960s, there were 400 local boiler rooms when the city got a new tire factory (the Michelin factory now). A large heat plant was built, supplying surplus heat from the factory to the nearby housing estates.

A new heat plant The 1970s’ and 1980s' were the period of a rapid DH network expansion. Olsztyn was growing fast, and 200 local boiler rooms were changed with a centralized heat source. In 1975 the construction of the city heat plant started. Four years later, it was the second primary source of heat (apart from the tire factory heat plant) for Olsztyn residents. At the same time, heat transfer pipes were laid. In 1988 Miejskie Przedsi ę biorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej (MPEC) – the city DH enterprise – was created. One of its principal tasks was a takeover of local boiler rooms from the military, health, and education services to cover the city with a uniform DH network. It was apparent that the heat efficiency needed to be increased at that stage, losses in transfer decreased, and the best solutions applied. In the middle of 1990, MPEC Olsztyn was the first company in Poland to use modern, Danish-made pre-insulated pipes in its network. In 1991 the ownership of MPEC Olsztyn shifted from the State Treasury to the city of Olsztyn, and in 1997 MPEC became a municipal company with the city holding 100% of its shares.

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