September 17-19 ENERGETAB 2024 – the largest International Power Industry Fair in Poland
Information after the ENERGETAB 2023 fair
Three intense days of the 36th international energy fair ENERGETAB are behind us. They were extremely busy for 433 exhibitors, who tried to present their latest and innovative products to potential recipients, satisfy their curiosity and answer all questions that a very large group of visitors to the largest electrical engineering and energy fair in Poland and Central Europe could have.
The ceremonial opening of the fair was performed by the mayor of Bielsko-Biała, Jarosław Klimaszewski, and the symbolic ribbon cutting was performed by numerous honorary guests, including the Minister of Funds and Regional Policy – Grzegorz Puda, MP Mirosława Nykiel, MP Przemysław Koperski, president of the Association of Polish Electricians – Sławomir Cieślik, director of PTPiREE – Wojciech Tabiś, chairman of the ŚlOIIB Council – Roman Karwowski and Dariusz Mrzygłód – president of ZIAD Bielsko-Biała SA – the organizer of the fair.
In their short speeches, they emphasized the challenges facing the Polish energy sector related to the urgent need for its transformation, enabling the development of renewable energy sources and a significant increase in network flexibility while ensuring stable energy supplies and the security of critical infrastructure. During the ceremonial inauguration of the fair, distinctions in the fair competition were also presented, awarded by the competition committee, chaired by Prof. Jakub Kupecki – director of the Power Engineering Institute in Warsaw.
The awards of the ENERGETAB fair enjoy high prestige in the industry, which is why exhibitors submitted as many as 44 newest and most innovative products to the competition. One of the priority investment and modernization tasks in the field of distribution networks is the construction of cable networks, which are more reliable than overhead networks. Hence, the Arinet technology of pulling medium-voltage cables (even several kilometers long) into previously laid cable pipelines, using a specialized Watucab Ψ head, which was awarded the cup of the Polish Electricity Transmission and Distribution Society, aroused great interest. Another technological solution that improves and shortens the construction time of the highest voltage lines (400 kV) was “Prefabricated SF foundations for strong poles”, demonstrated by WPŻ Elbud Gdańsk. The foundation exhibit, which weighed over 50 tons and was approximately 5 m high, and which was awarded the cup of the Silesian District Chamber of Civil Engineers, made a great impression on visitors.
Among the latest devices presented at the fair, a gradual retreat from the use of SF6 gas can be observed. Although SF6 gas has excellent insulating and fire-extinguishing properties, it has a very negative impact on the environment. The presented new devices in which the use of SF6 gas has been eliminated include the LTA 145 D1 EconiQ isolating switch from Hitachi Energy, which was awarded the Silver Medal of the ENERGETAB 2023 fair, the MV ring switchgear up to 24 kV type TPM Air manufactured by ZPUE S.A., awarded the Statuette of the Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, and the distinguished SM AirSeT switchgear manufactured by Schneider Electric.
Every year, an important part of the fair exhibition are programmable protection terminals and measurement automation systems. Thus, the Gold Medal of the Polish Transmission Operator (PSE S.A.)was awarded to the TZX-11 protection terminals, which perform protection functions for various types of power station bays, developed and manufactured by the ZPrAE Electrical Equipment Production Plant – a well-known Polish company whose successive busbar protection systems effectively protect numerous HV stations from extremely dangerous internal short circuits. The Gold Medal of the ENERGETAB 2023 fair was awarded to “Protection of medium voltage cable lines with intermittent short circuit detection SO-52v11-AUT”, produced by another Polish company – MIKRONIKA Sp. z o. o., whose SCADA dispatch systems are widely used in the Polish energy industry. It is impossible not to mention the new product of the excellent Polish manufacturer of electromechanical relays, RELPOL S.A., which has just launched the production of a whole family of “semiconductor power relays and controllers”, which work better than electromechanical ones in applications where there is a need for quick and repeated switching. Another advantage of this application is the lack of moving parts.
Among the many systems of energy analysis, monitoring and optimization presented at the fair, the SEMS system from AREX from WB Group was awarded the Cup of the Chamber of Commerce for Energy and Environmental Protection (IGEiOŚ), while the PSIneplan system from PSI Polska, , was awarded the SEP President’s Medal. The fair also featured numerous tools, components and devices useful in construction, assembly, installation and switchgear prefabrication works. Among them, the “Golden Volt” PIGE statuette was awarded to the group of devices for processing busbars “BPS Inteligent Line” from ERKO. The Bronze Medal of the ENERGETAB 2023 fair was presented to the tight aluminum-copper tubular cable lugs type KMA from ZAE ERGOM won and the Swiss “automatic bundle production machine Zeta 620”, submitted by EVOLTEC. The valuable award of the Mayor of Bielsko-Biała was awarded to the “LUXA DOB lighting fixture” from Ledolux Poland, designed for energy-efficient and remotely regulated road lighting. It is also characterized by a low failure rate and long service life (exceeding 100,000 hours).
The new hydrogen technologies and the development of a hydrogen economy, based on the so-called green hydrogen obtained by means of renewable energy sources have been discussed in Poland a lot . New hydrogen strategies and “hydrogen valleys” have also been created. It is believed that the energy transformation in Poland will not be successful without building a sufficiently large hydrogen economy. So far, we have not seen many products directly related to hydrogen technology at the ENERGETAB fair. Therefore, the presentation of a device developed by the Institute of Power Engineering – Research Institute and manufactured within its departments: “Stack of solid oxide electrochemical cells (rSOC)” was awaited with great interest. Depending on the needs of consumers or the network, the presented “stack of cells” can work as a generator of electricity and heat, i.e. work in the fuel cell mode or as a hydrogen generator in the electrolyzer mode. This allows it to be used as an energy store (through a conversion of electrical energy into chemical energy contained in e.g. hydrogen and vice versa). A characteristic feature of this technology is its modularity and easy power scalability – the power increases with the number of stacks connected to each other. The Institute of Power Engineering’s stack is also highly competitive when compared to foreign technologies, as it offers similar operating parameters (e.g. operational stability in a wide load range) with more compact dimensions and much lower costs. All these advantages of the innovative “rSOC stack” resulted in the Institute of Power Engineering receiving the highest distinction in the ENERGETAB fair competition; namely, the Cup of the Minister of Climate and Environment.
It is impossible to list here all the modern, innovative products offered at several hundred fair stands, such as elements and accessories of overhead and cable lines, transformers and container transformer stations, MV and LV switchboards, devices and apparatus for primary and secondary circuits, as well as power generators, specialized vehicles for power industry, lifts, drilling rigs, jacking, wire and cable winches, etc. The “RES Zone” featured demonstrations of environmentally friendly devices and solutions related to electricity generation – mainly photovoltaic panels and mounting structures. Compared to the previous years, the trade fair offer of suppliers and producers of battery energy storage units, both for small prosumers and industrial customers, with significantly higher powers and capacities, was much richer and diversified. Manufacturers of various electric vehicle charging stations and suppliers of new versions of electric cars promoted themselves in the “Electromobility Zone” (these presentations took place also outside the dedicated zone).
As every year, the fair was accompanied by conferences and promotional presentations by exhibitors. The Polish Energy Storage Association (PSME) organized a two-day conference, the main goal of which was to present various technical and business models of energy storage and to emphasize its important role in maintaining the flexibility of the energy system. The event began with a lecture by Barbara Adamska, president of PSME, who talked about the transformation of the energy market, the place of energy storage in the transformation and plans for its development.
Representatives of APATOR emphasized the importance of using battery energy storage devices as the tools that allow increasing the efficiency of renewable energy installations, stabilizing the parameters of the power grid and eliminating power losses related to energy transmission over longer distances. A representative of TF Kable described the innovative, industrial energy warehouse TFPowerPack, implemented in cooperation with the Lublin University of Technology, which enables the industrial plant to achieve full energy independence and facilitates the implementation of solutions based on renewable energy. The topics of subsequent presentations included economic evaluation of installing energy storage in an enterprise, methods of financing such an investment, as well as examples of solutions for prosumer energy storage. A representative of the KOMAG Institute presented the “Silesian Energy Storage System” project, which uses post-mining areas that are unattractive from the point of view of industrial and service activities. It should be added that thanks to the cooperation of the KOMAG Institute and the ENERGETAB fair, the participants in the International Scientific and Technical Congress “Energy Security and Just Transition” were able to visit the ENERGETAB fair during the second day of the Congress. The second day of the PSME conference was largely devoted to the development of the hydrogen technology market.
An unusual, considering the fair circumstances, debate entitled “The social side as a business partner” was organized by the Distribution Plants Section of the National Association of Continuous Workers Trade Unions. During the three panels, the topics discussed included the legal basis for trade union activities, participation of the social side in creating legal regulations, contracts and agreements, and building relationships between the social side and employers. Representatives of trade unions emphasized that they wanted to be a partner in the difficult process of energy transformation and that the basis for building good relations between employees and employers is good communication and mutual honesty, which ultimately brings mutual benefits.
An interesting conference entitled “Energy transformation in Poland” was organized by the Association of Polish Electricians (SEP) in cooperation with the Institute of Power Engineering and the Power and Energy Management Committee of FSNT-NOT. The aim of this conference was to exchange views and discuss basic energy topics before the 4th Congress of Polish Electricity SEP planned for June 2024. The thematic assumptions of the Congress were discussed by Sławomir Cieślik and Andrzej Werkowski, president and vice-president of SEP. The other topics were hydrogen technologies, with a discussion of hydrogen production and its use held by Prof. Jakub Kupecki, director of the Institute of Power Engineering, and the use of new ceramic materials in hydrogen and conventional energy, addressed in a talk by Dr. Marek Grabowy, director of the CEREL Ceramics Department of the Institute. The introduction to the next thematic block of next year’s Congress, which will be the security of critical infrastructure, was made by Dr. Eng. Jacek Nowicki – Secretary General of SEP.
The conference block on the second day of the fair opened with a debate entitled “Participation of domestic suppliers and contractors in the implementation of energy investments”, during which factors affecting the possibilities of obtaining contracts and their effective implementation given the dominant position of energy companies as ordering parties were discussed. The initiator of this conference was the Council of Power Industry and Energy Companies SEP, in cooperation with the Polish Society for the Transmission and Distribution of Electricity (PTPiREE), the Polish Association of the Power Industry (PSBE) and ZIAD Bielsko-Biała SA, as the organizer of the fair.
Dr. Eng. Jarosław Tomczykowski from PTPiREE outlined the investment plans of distribution companies until 2030, which result in a significant increase in expenditure on investments and modernization of power grids. Therefore, an important question is whether it will be possible to implement these ambitious plans and, above all, whether Polish producers and contractors will benefit from it. During the conference, Andrzej Diakun, president of PSBE, presented the contractor’s point of view on selected issues encountered in construction and assembly contracts in the energy industry. He drew attention to the frequent lack of specified risks in investor cost estimates, the use of high penalties for delays that are not necessarily caused by the contractor, the contractor’s liability for circumstances for which the contracting authority is solely responsible, and similar problems that still create an imbalance between the parties to the contract. He also pointed to various legal solutions regarding similar issues used in the Civil Code and the Public Procurement Law.
The next speaker, attorney Wojciech Żmijewski, addressed the issue of indexation of contractual remuneration, an extremely important topic given the high inflation on the Polish market. The presentation of the specific requirements of the nuclear power plant industry towards equipment suppliers and contractors, presented by Wojciech Majka, president of the ECOL company, with many years of significant experience in this market, aroused great interest among the conference participants. The topics discussed during the conference will have a significant impact on the possibilities of expanding the so-called local content during the planned huge investments related to the transformation of the Polish energy sector.
The high prestige of the ENERGETAB 2023 energy fair is evidenced by the honorary patronage of the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, as well as the Ministry of State Assets. Among the 433 exhibitors, 47 came from 10 European countries, China and the USA. The fair exhibitions were visited by almost 16 thousand people interested in new products in the broadly understood energy industry.
We would like to thank all the exhibitors and visitors, as well as the participants in conferences and business meetings for taking part in this year’s fair.
We wish you great results of your participation and invite you next year to the next 37th ENERGETAB fair, which will be held on September 17-19, 2024.