A long Christmas holiday is over. I have not had this kind of vacation around New Year for a very long time.
And coming back to office I almost immediately left for an Energy and Sustainability Visit to Sweden together with Polish energy companies. With my colleague in the Embassy counsellor Gunnar Haglund as the driving force.
I took part in the first half of the visit, focused on the region of Östergötland where the whole idea of using waste as a resource is firmly established. Both in incineration plants and as a source of biogas production.
It could i.a. be noted that already as much as seven percent of all transports in the city of Linköping with 145 000 inhabitants are made on biogas which in its turn is produced using organic waste of different kinds.
And what we saw was a whole system of energy efficiency and recycling – taking its starting point not least in the existence of district heating which really creates excellent preconditions for efficient solutions that e.g. could include burning waste instead of putting in landfills.
For the moment I think 87% of all household waste in Poland is put in landfills. In Sweden the corresponding figure is 1,4%.
But that change has taken place rapidly during the last decades. It is feasible. And it is sound economics!
If Poland would burn just half of its waste then the income from selling the heat and power generated would amount to about 2 billion zlotys.
I was happy to hear the Polish participants were quite interested in what they saw. Not to copy any models but to get inspiration and ideas that could be useful also here.
Back in Warsaw I am focusing on catching up after Christmas – as well as summing up last year’s successful Polish EU-Presidency. And not least planning the new year ahead of us. So many new people to meet, so many parts of Poland to see.
And so much more of the Polish language to learn. Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku 2012.