In Poland, utility company TAURON has secured a PLN 2.8 billion ($704.6 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to modernise its electricity distribution assets and install an advanced metering infrastructure.
The advanced metering infrastructure and smart grid technologies to be installed will enable TAURON to leverage real-time data and analytics to enhance the operations of its grid and customer services.
Teresa Czerwińska, Vice President of the EIB, who is responsible for the bank’s operations in Poland, said: “This is the largest EIB loan for TAURON Polska Energia and one of the largest EIB loans granted to a Polish company.
“The financing will help TAURON to modernise the electricity distribution network and make it compatible with renewable energy sources, which will effectively increase the decarbonisation rate. The investment is planned in southern Poland and will help to achieve greater economic and social cohesion in the region. We are glad that we can support TAURON in its ambitious activities for the benefit of the economy and the climate.”
Today, Poland is Europe’s producer of electricity using coal and investments in smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure are vital to helping consumers increase their energy efficiency, a move that would enable utilities to swiftly increase the use of renewables.
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The Polish government, however, plans to reduce the share of coal in the energy mix from 70% in 2020 to 56% by 2030, according to RWE.
TAURON will use the loan to fund the installation of smart transformers that will enable the utility to integrate distributed energy resources on the grid and adopt the prosumer business model, according to a statement.
In addition, advanced metering infrastructure will enable TAURON to accurately bill its customers and in the process protect and improve its revenue collection through reductions in non-revenue electricity.
TAURON says the loan will help enhance the quality of power the utility distributes to customers as well as enable the company to add new customers to its base.
The grid modernisation programme will be completed by the end of 2026.
Krzysztof Surma, Vice President of the Management Board of TAURON Polska Energia for Finance, added that the loan will: “strengthen the financial stability of TAURON Group and will allow TAURON to implement priority investments in the area of distribution. It is also a clear signal for investors that TAURON is actively implementing its strategic assumptions, as well as confirms the possibility of long-term cooperation with recognized financial institutions in the implementation of a strategy based on strong distribution and Green Return.”
By 2025, TAURON plans to have 1,400 MW of installed capacity in renewable energy sources as part of its Green Return initiative.
TAURON will use the loan within three years from the date of signing the agreement, and the maximum repayment period is eighteen years.
Surma, reiterated: “Distribution is one of our investment priorities. We invest approximately PLN 2 billion annually in this segment. We are already a leader in the share of cable networks (40%) on medium voltage. Thanks to financing from the European Investment Bank, TAURON strengthens its leading position in the area of energy distribution, and even strengthens the pace of grid development”
The projects will be part of TAURON’s digital transformation strategy under which the utility has also partnered with technology firm Microsoft to deploy advanced solutions that allow the utility to provide consumers with smart services such as energy savings