27 March, 2024

DRI enters Polish renewables market

DRI enters Polish renewables market to build the first large-scale battery storage project in the country

DRI, the EU subsidiary of DTEK Group, signed a final binding share purchase agreement with Poland’s Columbus Energy on 27th March which will give it the right to build a 133 MW battery storage facility in southern Poland, subject to permitting approvals.

The agreement is DTEK’s first major infrastructure investment in Poland and a key building block in the company’s plan to create a pan-European energy system uniting Ukraine and the EU. DTEK’s goal is to build a 5 GW portfolio of renewable energy projects in Europe by 2030, via DRI.

Maxim Timchenko, CEO of DTEK Group, said: “Today’s signing marks an exciting moment in Europe’s aspirations to move beyond fossil fuels. This project will not only provide vital flexibility in Poland’s journey to a renewable future but will be an important test case for Central and Eastern Europe in demonstrating how battery storage can be deployed successfully. DTEK’s investment in the country is a crucial step towards the integration of Ukraine and Poland’s energy systems.

Krzysztof Kochanowski, Vice-President of the Management Board and General Director of PIME, the largest association in the energy storage industry in Poland, said: “It is great to see international energy players like DTEK investing into the Polish battery storage market through its EU subsidiary DRI. Poland is one of the leaders in the European Union in the production of batteries and battery cells, and in the next 5 years it will also be one of the leaders in the construction of energy storage facilities using battery technology. The construction of this new facility will certainly contribute to our country’s efforts.”

Battery storage is a crucial technology in accelerating decarbonisation through the adoption of renewables, while maintaining system flexibility. Currently, Poland relies on 30 GW of coal, lignite and natural gas-fuelled power to balance the energy system which is increasingly adopting renewables and shifting from centralised to distributed generation. Battery storage is well-positioned to help ensure the grid’s operability, provide the system with firm capacity and complement the intermittent nature of renewable power.

The acquisition makes DTEK Group one of the first companies developing this technology at scale in Poland.

DRI expects to close the deal with Columbus in the coming months and break ground at the site in Q4 2024 in order to complete construction and commence operations in early 2026. The project has an obligation to provide energy capacity to the Polish market for 17 years from 2027, having been successful in the 2022 Capacity Market auction organized by PSE, the Polish Transmission System Operator.

DTEK Group already has experience in battery technology via its pilot project in Enerhodar, Ukraine, commissioned in 2021. DTEK is also Ukraine’s largest renewables investor, and last year completed phase 1 of the Tyligulska Wind Power Plant on the shores of the Black Sea – the world’s first wind project built during a war. At the COP28 climate summit, DTEK unveiled plans to quadruple the windfarm’s size in partnership with the turbine manufacturer Vestas. In January, DTEK’s subsidiary DRI went live with its first projects: the 60MW Ruginoasa wind farm and the 53MW Glodeni solar farm, both in Romania. DRI has a substantial portfolio of future projects in development across Romania, Italy, and Croatia.