Offshore — Next Step: PWEA Paved the Way for the Use of Offshore Wind

by dbereza

Offshore — Next Step: PWEA Paved the Way for the Use of Offshore Wind

by dbereza

by dbereza
PLN 178 billion value added for the Polish economy, CO2 emissions lower by approximately 102 million tonnes per year, and more than 100 thousand new jobs. Polish economy will gain a number of macro-economic benefits if only the Polish government takes action to streamline construction of offshore wind farms. Simplification of permitting or revision of Spatial Development Plan for Polish Maritime Areas are only some of the measures required by offshore. Polish Wind Energy Association specified all the necessary, specific changed to be urgently implemented during Offshore Wind Poland 2023.

Global offshore market is accelerating, and Poland is not to be left behind. Economic benefits, new jobs and local content growth are within reach — however, without strong regulatory support we will not be able to pursue the best growth scenario. Support for offshore wind power should be a priority for the new government. In the next ten years offshore wind may contribute PLN 178 billion value added for the Polish economy, decrease CO2 lower by approximately 102 million tonnes per year, and provide an opportunity for approximately PLN 81 billion of revenue for enterprises in the construction phase. Operation of companies from the sector, in particular in the Pomerania region, is 100 thousand new jobs.

Moreover, annual savings on avoided purchase of CO2 emission allowances amounting to approximately PLN 67 billion, and on approximately 47 million tonnes of hard coal, must also be taken into account. 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, what the new government should aim for. For these ambitious goals to be achieved, we need to promote the growth of offshore installed capacity through better predictability and faster permitting.

“PWEA, remaining in constant dialogue with its members and other stakeholders of the offshore industry, identified factors hindering rapid growth of offshore wind farms in the Polish Baltic Sea areas. We specified the most urgent needs and issues faced by Phase I projects as well as those applicable to Phase II and III. Our recommendations pave the way for the new government to bet on a large-scale, readily available green energy source,” emphasized Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association.

Urgent changes to promote offshore development

One of key issues is the revision of Spatial Development Plan for Polish Maritime Areas to enable development of Phase II and even Phase III projects. A detailed analysis of values determining the potential installed capacity and energy yield in Poland demonstrates that full offshore wind potential amounts to 33 GW, with expected annual average energy yield of 130 TWh. Extension of the Plan with new areas is a political matter that requires an impulse — appropriate provisions in the Energy Policy of Poland, now undergoing an update, and in the Polish law.

The offshore sector is facing dynamic growth, therefore PWEA proposes to revise the Plan at least once in 5 years instead of once in 10 years. This will enable adaptation of the state’s energy strategy to macro-economic, climate and technological environment. One of the barriers hindering the commencement of works on the amendment to the Plan seems to be lack of funds — hence the proposed provision enabling financing of Plan amendments by stakeholders. Moreover, it was proposed to shorten certain statutory deadlines and limit the need to carry out strategic EIA for less important amendments to the Plan.

The next important element requiring addressing is the need to create legislative solutions for offshore cables. Newly issued permissions to build and operate artificial islands, entailing new offshore projects in the Baltic Sea, will inevitably result in crossing or overlapping of offshore cables forming part of offshore wind farms or their export infrastructure. Next stage will require the application of international standards or their equivalents (by creating a document to be used in the Polish Baltic Sea areas) to cable crossing, and conclusion of crossing agreements between investors.

Moreover, PWEA sees the need to introduce more flexibility in implementation of offshore wind farm projects by allowing small adjustments to turbine location (within 50 m), enabling performance of preparatory works prior to obtaining building permit, or limiting the possibility to introduce additional obligations in the permission to build and operate artificial islands consultation process. Specification of provisions of the so-called Transmission Special Purpose Act to match guidelines applicable to permits for laying and operating cables or pipelines in internal marine waters or the territorial sea (PUUK), and adaptation of existing regulations to instances where an offshore wind farm project is implemented in stages, which may prove inevitable due to seasonal nature of offshore works, would also be very welcome.

Furthermore, Offshore Wind Poland demonstrated the need to sanction the sale of electricity from offshore wind farms prior to final acceptance of the entire farm to minimise the risk faced by investors. In PWEA opinion the sale of electricity during technological commissioning is acceptable provided that license application is filed by the producer within a specified deadline.

The possibility to connect energy storage facilities or electrolysers to offshore wind farms without losing eligibility for aid is a must for smooth development of offshore wind. Progress in hydrogen and energy storage technologies determines an update to the definition of an offshore wind farm to enable the installation to also cover the technologies in question.