The cornerstone for the new Fortum CHP plant in Zabrze, Poland, was laid this week by Lenita Toivakka, the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development.

Also taking part in the ceremony were Małgorzata Mańka-Szulik, the Mayor of the City of Zabrze, Kazimierz Karolczak, the Member of the Silesian Voivodeship Board and Mikael Lemström, Vice President Production of Fortums’ City Solutions division.

Lemström stressed in his speech that the new CHP plant in Zabrze is a key element of Fortum’s investment plan for the Silesia region, the total value of which will exceed one billion PLN (approximately EUR 230m) by 2022.

The new CHP plant in Zabrze is planned to start commercial operations by the end of 2018, providing district heating to some 70,000 households in the cities of Zabrze and Bytom. It will primarily be fueled by refuse derived fuel (RDF) and coal but can also use biomass and a mixture of fuels.

The amount of RDF can be up to 50% of the total fuel usage. The new plant will replace the existing purely coal-fired, outdated units in Zabrze and Bytom.

The investment is expected to significantly improve the efficiency of operations and reduce CO2 and other emissions in the area giving good evidence to Fortum’s commitment to the circular economy concept development in Poland. It also fits well in Fortum’s strategy as one the cornerstones of it is providing sustainable solutions to growing cities and urban areas.

Fortum currently has three CHP units and over 800 km of district heating network in Poland, which serve in total 360,000 households in the cities of Płock, Wrocław, Częstochowa, Zabrze and Bytom.