AND POLISH RIVERS
Green Federation GAJA
Hydropower in Poland
The possibilities of hydropower production
in Poland are not evenly distributed in Poland.
Most of it (about 68%) is present in the River
Vistula basin. The rivers with high energetic
potential are: Wisla (Vistula), Dunajec, San, Bug,
and also Odra (Oder), Bóbr, and Warta. The
highest concentration of existing medium size
and large hydropower stations is in the western
and southern parts of the country. The lowest in
central Poland, in the eastern part they are
Fig. 1. Largest hydropower stations in Poland.
Name/ of Pt
No. location River operation (MW) Pp(MW) Hn
1 Zarnowiec Piasnica 1983 716 800 117
2 Porabka-Zar Sola 1979 500 540 432
3 Solina San 1968 200 60 43
4 Wloclawek Wisla 1970 160,2 - 8,8
5 Zydowo Radew 1971 156 136 77,4
6 Niedzica Dunajec 1997 92,8 89 42,2
7 Dychów Bóbr 1936/51* 79,5 30 29,8
8 Roznów Dunajec 1942 50 - 26,5
9 Koronowo Brda 1961 26 - 26
10 Tresna Sola 1967 21 - 20,4
Tab. 1. Largest hydropower stations in Poland with capacity
(Pt) 5,0 MW (Pt – installed capacity of turbines; Pp –
installed capacity of pumps; Hn – nominal height of fall)
Regions in southern Poland (close to
the mountains) are the most attractive
for construction of small hydropower
(SHP) stations in terms of water
resources, but taking into account
present hydro-technical infrastructure,
the western and northern parts of the
country are also regarded as very
Energetic resources of Polish waters are
not big because of not very high and
unevenly distributed precipitation, high soil
permeability, and low land inclination.
• 1,5% of hydropower in the electricity
production is the share
• 11% of the available resources are used in
• 30% of the potential hydropower feasible
for exploitation is being obtained at present
Potential of Polish rivers in
terms of energy production
exceeds 23000 GWh/year -
it is used in 52%.
There are more than 700 hydropower
plants working in Poland.
Small hydropower (SHP) stations are most
popular at present.
In 2002, there were about 580 of them,
their installed capacity was 185 MW.
About 20% of small hydropower stations in
Poland is owned by big energetic
companies controlled by the state, the rest
of them belong to private investors .
The hydropower potential in Poland is
13650 GWh/year (including SHP: 1700
GWh/year), but practically, owing to
economical and nature protection
constraints, it is estimated that
maximum about 8000 GWh/year are
According to statistical data of 2003,
Polish energetic system had 34683 MW
of installed capacity, of which about
2100 MW, i.e. less than 6.1% falls to
hydropower. For 2004 these figures
were 34715 MW and 2168 MW,
respectively. Pumped-storage power
stations have the biggest capacity.
Total electricity production in Poland
was 154 102 GWh in 2004.
In 2003, it was 143 230 GWh and
hydropower constituted 2.6%.
Hydropower stations as obstacles
for fish migration in Polish rivers
A lot of Polish HP stations have not
fish ladders or if so, the ladders do not
Thus most of the rivers are
inaccessible for migratory fish species
which contributed to heavy losses and
even extinction of many populations.
Special programmes aimed at making
rivers accessible for migratory fish are
being elaborated in each province.
They are supposed to include plans for
construction of modern fish-ladders as
well as demolition of dams that are not
used for energy production.
Subsidies for hydropower
SHP in Poland can be financed by:
• National Fund of Environmental Protection and
• Thermomodernization Fund,
• Voivodship funds of environmental protection
and water management.
Foreign support for SHP:
• World Bank
• European banks financing large projects
• EU funds like PHARE and ISPA, SAPARD
• Agreements on bilateral cooperation with
some western European countries, namely
Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the UK,
provide possibilities for financial support in
SHP development in Poland.
Plans for future
Increase of share of energy from
renewable resources in the energetic
budget of Poland to 7.5% in 2010 and
14% in 2020 is the main, strategic
goal resulting from a “Strategy of
renewable power industry
development” elaborated by the
Ministry of Environment.
Regulation of rivers and creation of
reservoirs are being put forward as
advantageous for environment, as
they make the river flow more even
and diminish the risk of floods.
The arguments are even such as a
river bed can be cleaned from rubble,
water can be better aerated,
adsorption, mineralization and
photosynthesis can be enhanced, and
also new areas for leisure activities
and recreation can be created.
Wloclawek – a hotspot
This biggest river hydropower station in
Poland is located near a town called
Wloclawek. This power plant forms a key
obstacle for fish migration to the rest of the
River Vistula basin above the dam.
There is a chamber fish-ladder, but only
very few fish are able to pass it. This fact
contributed to disappearance of migratory
species, especially such as sturgeon,
salmon, sea trout, and vimba in the middle
and upper parts of the river basin.
Works on making the Vistula
accessible for migratory fish are still in
their initial phase, and it is hard to say
when the problem will be solved.
Without that restoration of migratory
fish populations in large part of Poland
is not possible.
THANK YOU FOR