The governmental draft amendment to the RES Act increases the volume and adjusts the dates of offshore auctions. Compared to the previously assumed 5 GW, the current government plans provide for auctions for a total installed offshore wind capacity of 12 GW. In accordance with PWEA, if full potential of offshore wind farms is used, in the future offshore may constitute the basis of the Polish energy mix, covering as much as 57% of electricity demand.
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.
The potential of the Baltic Sea has been recognized by the government, which, in its amendment to the RES Act (UC99), prepared by Ministry of Climate and Environment, increased the volume and adjusted the dates of offshore auctions. Compared to the previously assumed 5 GW (2.5 GW each in 2025 and 2027), the current government plans provide for auctions for a total installed offshore wind capacity of 12 GW (4 GW in 2025, 4 GW i n2027, 4 GW in 2029 and 2 GW in 2031).
In accordance with the “Potential of Offshore Wind in Poland” PWEA report, Poland exhibits 33 GW of offshore wind potential. 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.
“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,” said Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association.
This is not the only change good for the offshore industry. On 15 December 2022 the Sejm adopted the Act on particular protection of certain gas fuel customers in 2023 in connection with the situation on the gas market. The Act, signed on 19 December by President Andrzej Duda, implements a number of solutions beneficial to offshore wind development and eliminating part of administrative barriers identified in the investment process.
“The adopted changes introduce a number of provisions beneficial to the offshore wind sector, called for by PWEA in the recent months. The key changes for the offshore industry include specification of the deadlines for indexation of the price specified in the decision of the ERO, binding the support level to currency rates, making the maximum price “real” with respect to exchange rate volatility, or ensuring the validity of the location permit for the entire lifetime of a project,” emphasized Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association.
PWEA has been calling for works on the current legal regulations and urgent verification of strategic documents for months, including the required updates to EPP2040, which is now based on outdated assumptions, amendments to the Offshore Act, or amendments to the Spatial Development Plan for Polish Maritime Areas, adopted in 2021. It is also desirable to streamline administrative procedures, in particular related to permitting. Next to amendments to regulations to ensure dynamic offshore growth, it is crucial to eliminate a number of infrastructural barriers, including construction and modernisation of power grids, construction of ports and installation/maintenance vessels or preparation of solutions supporting hydrogen development.
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.
“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,” said PWEA President.
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. Without offshore wind farms Poland will not develop ambitious hydrogen projects related to green hydrogen production technology.