Poland makes a new step in wind power development

At present, the total installed wind capacity in Poland is about 6.4 GW. Before 2016, Poland also had very high rates of wind power growth. Poland was impelled to develop wind power by its EU membership (where, e.g., the total wind capacity in neighbouring Germany is 56 GW), which imposes certain obligations on the share of renewable energy in the energy mix. While in 2014, the annual total capacity gain in the country was 444 MW, the following year, 2015. it amounted to 1,266 MW. The investment prospects of the Polish renewable energy market were assessed as rather high, in particular, according to REmap 2030: Renewable Energy Prospects for Poland report by IRENA, the RES share in energy consumption was forecast to reach 38% by 2030.

However, in summer 2016, the Parliament of Poland, where the majority belongs to Law and Justice party after its victory in 2015 elections, passed an act aimed at supporting the national coal sector. In conformity with the act, taxes on RES were raised, and new standards of wind turbine distance from residential areas were set; now, the distance must be at least 10 times more than the turbine height from ground level. Experts noted that it would make almost the entire territory of the country inappropriate for WPP location, which would entail higher tariffs, lower investment volumes and slow down the sector development in the country in general.

The restrictive measures were somewhat lifted only in July 2018. Thus, the effect of project permits issued before 2016 was extended until 2020. However, offshore WPPS remain the main option for wind power development in Poland. According to the EU plans, the overall share of RES consumption in the European Union should reach 20% by the year 2020, and Poland will have to raise its consumption share by at least 15% (as of 2016, RES share in the Polish energy mix amounted to 11.3%). According to the recent expert assessments, the country will not be able to reach the target, achieving 13-14% only.

The EU pressure forces Polish authorities to make concessions and plan for building RES facilities. The Global Climate Conference (COP24) will take place on 2 December 2018 in Katowice; in its anticipation, the country launched an auction for implementation of a wind energy project with a capacity of 1 GW (an onshore wind farm). The bidders are asked to offer the lowest price per MW-hour of energy generated in the following 15 years. The winner will be paid about €4 bn in that period. The average price proposal at the auction is expected to amount to €51 per MWh, which is less than the similar indicators at the recent auctions in France (€65/MWh) and Germany (€62.6/MWh). At present, the auction bids set the price range from €43 to €63 per MW-hour.

The Polish Vice-Minister of Energy Grzegorz Tobiszowski announced that the country would conduct another action for the rights to develop onshore wind energy projects in the following few months. As reported earlier, Warsaw plans to conduct two more such auctions next year. Mr Tobiszowski announced national plans to develop offshore wind energy until 2035; the country will build up its overall installed offshore capacity by 8 GW. The national parliament should pass a relevant act in the near future.

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