The largest programme for Poland’s energy sector and the economy in the upcoming decade needs a clear vision and a stable regulatory framework, according to the unanimous opinion of participants of the discussion about offshore wind in Poland, which took place on 11 December during the Renewable Energy Areopag 2019 conference.
The first electricity from wind farms located in the Polish zone of the Baltic Sea could be fed into the national grid around 2025. However, there are two conditions, i.e. the entry into force of the Offshore Wind Act in 2020 and simplification of administrative procedures related to permitting and project development.
– Poland can be the leader in terms of installed capacity in the Baltic Sea, with a potential of up to 28 GW. Therefore at the very beginning of that game, where the stakes are about domination in the Baltic Sea and further dynamic development of the Polish economy, we should not freeze that potential. And such freezing would happen in case of reducing the capacity of offshore wind farms by 2040 from 10 GW to 8 GW in the most recent draft energy policy and restrictions for offshore wind development imposed in the recent draft spatial development plan for the Polish maritime zone in the Baltic Sea – said Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association.
PWEA’s head criticized the lack of flexibility with regard to sharing the areas designated for extraction of hydrocarbons and for military purposes with the energy sector, as well as too infrequent plan revisions, not taking into account the advancement in technology. The Association recommends revising the plan every 5 years, rather than 10 years as envisaged in the draft.
PWEA also announced its plans to submit a list of barriers and proposals for their removal to the Department of Renewable and Distributed Energy (currently within the Ministry of State Assets).
– We hope the administration demonstrates its openness and willingness to hear the industry’s arguments by preparing the key framework for the offshore market in Poland. In particular, we count on an efficient implementation of the Offshore Wind Act, which would give us a basis for planning investment projects in Poland and help understand the pace at which Poland wants to achieve the 10 GW of capacity in offshore wind. It is also important to coordinate onshore grid expansion with the objectives of the Act, as well as the permitting process for artificial islands, structures and equipment in Polish maritime zones, in order to optimize the pace of development of offshore wind farms and the use of local potential – notices Agata Sypniewska, responsible for the development of the Polish market at Ørsted.
By efficient implementation of legislation devoted to offshore wind development, Agata Staniewska means its entry into force in the first part of 2020. In her opinion, the legislation should provide comprehensive framework for offshore wind operation, by streamlining the permitting process in the development stage, defining the principles of a support scheme and settlements with the Settlements Manager, as well as the scope of investor’s responsibility with regard to construction of grid connection. – We hope that the investor will be responsible for building the grid connection, in its offshore and onshore part – Ørsted’s representative said.
The draft offshore wind act was announced by the former Minister of Energy, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, in the last days of his term of office. In the structure of the government, energy-related responsibilities will be taken over by the Ministry of Climate headed by Michał Kurtyka.
– I am satisfied with the recent developments with regard to the legislation on offshore wind. In order to harness the entire potential of offshore wind in Poland we now need ambitious and clear goals and predictable regulatory framework establishing adequate incentives for investment. We also need to simplify the permitting process – advocates Michał Kołodziejczyk, CEO of Equinor Poland, a company currently preparing three offshore wind projects (Bałtyk I, II and III) with Polenergia, capable of providing renewable electricity for five million Polish households. – I would like to encourage companies from the Polish supply chain to get ready for the moment of selection of suppliers for our projects – adds Michał Kołodziejczyk.
PWEA has identified over 100 companies already supplying components for foreign offshore wind farm projects. They are currently focusing on exports, but their scale of operation could be significantly larger if the domestic market opened up.
The largest beneficiaries would include the steel, cabling and shipbuilding industries.
According to Krzysztof Kidawa, CEO of Baltic Power, a subsidiary of PKN Orlen, adequately early planning of demand for specific resources, based on precise time schedule of project development, will translate to maximum utilization of the domestic supply chain. – We believe that this strategic project, as demonstrated by numerous examples from all over the world, is an opportunity not only for the Polish energy sector, but for the entire economy – Krzysztof Kidawa argued.
Piotr Czopek, Director of the Department for Renewable and Distributed Energy at the Ministry of State Assets, declared that he would like the offshore legislation to be submitted to public consultation as soon as possible, and he hoped it could happen still this December.