Poland exhibits 33 GW of offshore wind potential — these are the estimates stemming from Offshore Wind Poland conference. Furthermore, the new PWEA report also specifies 20 new areas in the Polish Baltic Sea area, including 18 in the Exclusive Economic Zone and 2 within the territorial sea. Had the entire potential of the Baltic Sea been exploited, offshore wind could contribute to as much as 57% of total electricity demand in Poland, with local content reaching 65% — a true opportunity for the Polish economy.
Electricity from the first Polish wind farm in the Baltic Sea is scheduled to be fed into the grid in 2026. Never before have there been such a rapidly growing renewable energy sources technology in Poland — and even worldwide. Development works on the construction of the first wind farms in the Polish Baltic Sea areas are in progress, as are administrative procedures to grant subsequent permits for the so-called Phase II projects. Substantial interest in the sector clearly demonstrates that offshore wind may become a strategic element of Poland’s energy security and independence.
The “Potential of Offshore Wind in Poland” report, prepared for PWEA by Morski Instytut UMG, Ramboll and KP Consulting has been launched during this year’s Offshore Wind Poland conference. The publication clearly demonstrates that had the use of the entire potential of the Baltic Sea would enable offshore wind to contribute to as much as 57% of total electricity demand in Poland by 2040.
Currently, projects with a total capacity of approximately 8.4 GW, including 5.9 GW under Phase I and 2.5 GW under Phase II, are in the pipeline. A detailed analysis of values determining the potential installed capacity and energy yield in Poland demonstrates that offshore wind potential amounts to 33 GW, with expected annual average energy yield of 130 TWh.
Works on the report identified 20 new areas with a total area of 2,171.5 km2, including 18 in the Exclusive Economic Zone and 2 within the territorial sea, with the potential to be used for offshore wind development. These areas could contribute 17.7 GW with assumed energy yield of 70.7 TWh.
“Considering the scale of the planned investments in offshore wind farms, Poland may become one of the largest offshore centres in Europe. Substantial interest in the Polish market clearly demonstrates that offshore wind may become a strategic element of Poland’s energy security and independence. Full use of production capacity of Polish service providers will mean that local offshore supply chain may reach 65%, which is a great opportunity for the Polish economy,” emphasized Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association.
The achievement of the expected offshore wind potential will enable the creation and maintenance of thousands of innovative, well-paid jobs. 33 GW of investments in the Baltic Sea are estimated to generate 100 thousand jobs and PLN 178 billion of gross added value in the development phase and PLN 46 billion per year in the operating phase (on the basis of EY data for PWEA, 2019).
“Inclusion of the areas specified in the Report in the spatial development plan for Polish maritime areas (Phase III) will require a discussion on the current legislation and a possibly quick verification of the current strategic documents. In will be necessary to update Energy Policy of Poland until 2040, amend the Offshore Act in terms of additional auction volumes and amend the spatial development plan for Polish maritime areas adopted in 2021. It is also desirable to streamline administrative procedures, in particular related to permitting,” Maciej Matczak from Instytut Morski.
Next to regulatory change, an important issue for dynamic growth of offshore is the removal of a number of infrastructural and administrative barriers. The key challenge is the construction and modernisation of transmission infrastructure necessary to connect wind farms in the Baltic Sea. Moreover, Poland needs to reinforce the capacity of interconnectors to Baltic Sea countries. Long-lasting and complicated procedures for granting decisions and permits for construction of the installations are yet another barrier.
The lack of infrastructure investments for the purposes of construction of an installation port and service ports generates additional project implementation costs.
Offshore wind farms are the best available large-scale RES technology that will enable Poland to reduce emissions and comply wit the European climate targets — assuming yearly output of 130 TWh, CO2 emissions could decrease by as much as 102 million tonnes per year. Offshore wind farms may constitute part of a sustainable energy mix in Poland, supporting decarbonisation and limiting dependence on fossil fuel supplies. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that without offshore wind farms Poland will not develop ambitious hydrogen projects related to green hydrogen production technology.
“Notwithstanding many challenges, offshore investments in Poland are raison d’etat. First one should optimise strategic documents and permitting issues to enable the first Polish wind farms in the Baltic Sea to be efficiently and quickly built. Market changes demonstrates the need for urgent changes. I strongly believe that Offshore Wind Poland conference helped to establish joint objectives of the entire offshore industry,” said Janusz Gajowiecki, PWEA President.