Poland's Offshore Wind Act unanimously approved

In: Windfarms
Poland's draft 'Offshore Wind Act' has been unanimously adopted by the Senate, the higher chamber of Polish Parliament, without any amendments. The new act details a new subsidy scheme, and simplifies administrative and legal procedures to encourage investors and accelerate the industry

The new legislation will be passed to the President of Poland for his signature. Regulations included in the Act are expected to be put into force within the next four weeks.

The Offshore Act regulates the method of obtaining public support by investors interested in building offshore wind farms in the Polish exclusive economic zone of the Baltic Sea. Public aid will be granted by way of an administrative decision by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO). 

Poland has opted to proceed via a two stage Contract for Difference (CfD) model which is similar to that used in the UK. The ministry expects that the pool of funds will support 5.9 GW of offshore wind capacity. The first wind farms launched under this stage could start producing energy as early as 2025.

The submission of applications should be completed no later than March 31, 2021, and the decision of the ERO granting the right to support should be issued by the end of the first half of 2021. Next, individual notifications of the granted state aid will be made to the European Commission and the final verification of the level of support by the ERO.

The government plans to launch further support phases in 2025 and 2027, both 2.5 GW, leading to 11 GW by 2040.

"This is a historic moment and a key act not only for our energy, mostly based on fossil fuels, but also for our economy. The regulations contained in the so-called The offshore act, which is the basis for the development of wind farms in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea, will support the process of transformation of Poland towards low-emission for the next decades. Launching investments worth around PLN 130 billion will help to reduce the negative effects of the slowdown caused by the pandemic. Because it is not only a direct injection of cash for the economy, but also tax revenues to the central budget and municipal coffers, tens of thousands of new jobs and a chance to build a strong industry around the sector, i.e. revitalization of Polish shipyards and ports" commented Kamila Tarnacka, vice-president of the Polish Wind Energy Association (PWEA).

"The energy potential of the Baltic Sea is enormous, and the conditions in the Polish part of the sea are among the best for this type of investment. We should take advantage of this. Ultimately, we can connect up to 28 GW of capacity in offshore wind farms to the Polish system and thus become the region's leader,"
added Tarnacka.

According to the PWEA further legislation needs to be implemented to foster the development of offshore wind. This concerns regulation on the maximum price for offshore energy, regulations detailing technical requirements for offshore installations, regulation on the detailed scope of expertise and plans to meet maritime safety requirements, regulation on the scope of expertise in the field of assessment the impact of installations on state defense systems, as well as the rules for the possible purchase of the network connecting the offshore farms with the land by the transmission system operator.

"These regulations should be treated as a priority. In the optimal scenario, they should enter into force in February so that investors can include them in applications for support to the ERO," said Kamila Tarnacka.

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