PKN ORLEN submits environmental report for Baltic Power

In: Windfarms
After 17 months of research, PKN ORLEN has submitted an environmental report for the Baltic Power offshore wind farm. Completion of this stage opens the way to obtaining a building permit and allows for the detailed schedule and technical conditions of the investment. The conclusions from the research will be used to plan the implementation process and the subsequent operation of the investment in a manner that is optimal for the natural environment.

As part of the research, an area with a total area of ​​323 km2 was studied, using a specialised plane and eighteen vessels. Among other things, the geological structure of the seabed, the chemical properties of the waters were analysed, and the flora and fauna in the area of ​​the planned investment were inventoried. The research report was submitted to the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Gdańsk and, after prior consultations of the document with stakeholders, including the social party, it will be the basis for issuing the Decision on Environmental Conditions for the investment.

Comprehensive research was conducted from October 2018 to February 2020. For the purposes of surface and bottom water quality analysis, nearly 5,000 litres of sea water were collected and analysed. Based on samples taken, it was determined, inter alia, acidification, suspended solids content, oxygen conditions and the presence of harmful substances. Almost 400 samples of surface sediments were collected to obtain information on the content of pollutants and nutrients in the seabed sediments.

As part of geophysical surveys, 72 core samples were collected up to a depth of several meters below the seabed. On the basis of the collected data, it will be possible to create a preliminary plan for the arrangement of turbines and to initially determine the optimal type and size of their supporting structures. Using a remotely controlled underwater vehicle, almost 100 underwater objects were checked, such as cable lines, boulders, characteristic geological formations or shipwrecks lying on the bottom, which may affect the final location of the turbines.

The presence of marine mammals was verified using underwater acoustic detectors, and also by observing aircraft. Observations of birds and their migrations were made during over 120 sailing days. Bats activity tests were carried out at two specialized research stations and on a section with a total length of 55 km.

The 1.2 GW project covers an 131 km2 area approximately 23 km north of Choczewo and Łeba. The construction of an offshore wind farm is one of the key development projects of PKN ORLEN, which is in line with the Group's strategy, assuming investments in low- and zero-emission generation sources.

"The implementation of the offshore wind farm project is crucial not only in the context of PKN ORLEN's strategy, assuming the development of low- and zero-emission generation sources, but also in the process of transformation of the Polish energy sector. Nearly 1.2 GW of installed capacity in the Baltic Sea, together with our planned investments in gas assets, will permanently change the energy mix in Poland, ensuring stability of supplies, with a significant reduction in emissions. Completion of environmental studies and submission of report to the maritime investment is a milestone that opens the way for us to profound changes in the Polish power system,"
said Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN.

Although there are currently no offshore wind farms operating in Poland, a number of developers have positioned themselves in the Polish offshore wind market.

Representatives of the Polish government and Polish wind energy industry recently signed a Letter of Intent on cooperation for development of offshore wind power in Poland. The letter lays out the foundation for the development of offshore wind in Poland.

In its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) Poland identified offshore wind as one of key technologies to meet its goals for renewable energy for 2030. It is also a strategic project in the draft of Poland’s Energy Policy until 2040. It will help diversifying the Polish national power generation structure that today heavily depends on coal.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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