The dynamic situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly affecting various sectors of the economy, including the wind industry. PWEA is advocating for mitigation of disruption for ongoing projects adding new capacity and takes action aimed at ensuring the key role of RES in the future. The government administration has already accepted some of the suggestions.
Extension of deadlines for RES
The so-called Anti-Crisis Shield, adopted by the government in the end of March, takes into account PWEA’s requests to extend project execution schedules by up to 12 months.
This means that the President of the Energy Regulatory Office, at the request of the generator, can issue a single decision to extend the deadline for complying with the requirement to start selling electricity by a period specified in the generator’s request, no longer than 12 months from the original deadline. For investors planning the construction of a wind farm under the auction scheme this means an extension of time to obtain the generation licence and to start selling electricity to 33 months from the date of the end of the auction. When submitting a request for extension, the investors need to provide an updated works and financial schedule and submit a current bank guarantee extended at least by the period specified in the request.
These changes provide more time to start the generation of electricity also under the feed-in tariff (FiT) and feed-in premium (FiP) schemes for those green energy generators who obtained the right to enter these schemes before the entry into force of the anti-crisis package. These schemes provide a guarantee of electricity prices for small biomass and hydro installations (with up to 500 kW capacity), and in case of medium-sized installations (between 500 kW and 1 MW) they ensure the right to cover the negative balance.
Shield 2.0 to extend connection agreements
The government is simultaneously working on the amendment of the existing anti-crisis law. One of the modifications includes a 1-year extension of the contracts for connection of the installations to the distribution grid. Under the draft Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0, passed by the Sejm on 8 April, non-terminated grid connection agreements shall remain in force until the date indicated by the generator in an application. The condition is that the energy from such an installation should be fed to the grid for the first time no later than on 30 June 2022.
The amendment also extends the validity of generation licence (concession) decisions due to expire during the state of epidemic. Under the amendment, such concession decisions will be extended until 31 December 2020. However, the generator has to file a relevant application no later than 30 days before the expiration of the concession.
This provision of the Shield 2.0 can be used both by entrepreneurs developing their installations under the auction scheme and by those building market-based projects, e.g. under corporate PPAs.