Offshore wind power in Poland over the next several years is a 250 billion zloty expenditure. In turn, investments to expand the power grid and infrastructure could reach 40 billion zlotys. This is according to the debate “Onshore and offshore – unleashing the potential of onshore wind power and the status of offshore project development,” which took place during the 9th edition of the Energy Congress organized by the Lower Silesian Institute for Energy Studies in Wroclaw.
Offshore wind energy – Poland is an attractive but difficult market for RES investors
During the discussion, representatives of foreign investors assessed the potential of Polish onshore and offshore wind power. “The Polish market is very attractive to investors. For EDF Renewables, it is a key market, as we have proven for 12 years, both with the capacity already built and with a portfolio of projects with a total capacity of 1 GW onshore.” – stresses Alicja Chilińska-Zawadzka, CEO of EDF Renewables in Poland.
Experts stressed the importance of stable legislation and predictability of the direction of regulation for the future of investment. “The most important thing is to speed up the issuance of permits. This is the number one issue,” stresses Janusz Gajowiecki,president of the Polish Wind Energy Association. – “PWEA has prepared proposals for changes that will ensure that, with distance requirements described at 700 meters, investors will be able to build their first projects in three or four years, rather than 10.”
Poland’s onshore and offshore wind power industry
Also, the development potential of the Offshore Wind Energy Program depends on changes in Polish law. Participants in the debate estimated that maximizing the potential of the Baltic depends on speeding up investment procedures. All in all, this involves nearly 30 laws that should be modified so that the investment process in the Polish offshore can proceed at a faster pace and the offshore wind power industry can reach the global level.
“The Polish market is very attractive, but it also has its challenges. It should be noted that there are still barriers that can reduce this attractiveness,” explains Alicja Chilinska-Zawadzka. – “The outlays Poland has to incur to adapt the grid to the needs of the new energy industry are about 40 billion zlotys. This shows the magnitude of the challenge our country faces to ensure that the grid can accommodate RES and distribute energy to the right places.”
It was emphasized that RES are a guarantee of making the Polish electricity system independent of imported fossil fuels, and the OWE program is an investment of 250 billion zlotys. The speakers noted that the sectoral agreement for the development of Poland’s OWE, signed two years ago, states that employment in the sector will be reached at 60,000. people in the perspective of several years.
It is important to provide investors with a stable regulatory environment
“The responsibility lies not only with secondary, vocational or higher education training centers, but also, and perhaps most importantly, with investors who need to be involved in the process,” explains Alicja Chilińska-Zawadzka. – “As EDF Renewables, we are conducting, together with the Mine Restructuring Company, under the auspices of the Secretary of State at the Ministry of State Assets, Marek Wesoly, a training program for employees leaving Silesian mines. In this and many other ways, we want to take part in achieving the strategic goals enshrined in the Sectoral Agreement. This is our joint responsibility and our joint daily work and vision, which cannot be limited to building an energy source and selling it.”
According to experts, Poland’s offshore wind power industry should develop through dialogue with both subcontractors and local communities and labor unions (such as fishermen or tourism workers). Each party should actively participate in the implementation work, and the process itself should take into account their expectations.
“Offshore development will be a race to deliver technology and infrastructure elements on time and at a price that is in line with the assumptions of the prepared cost estimates. We must remember that in recent years offshore wind energy has been the domain not only of Poland, but also of many countries in the North and Baltic Sea basins. As a result, the market is and will continue to become increasingly competitive, especially in the area of obtaining deliveries on schedule and on cost.
Therefore, the position in the supply market will be crucial for the timely completion of these investments. Our ambition is to support Polish partners in the implementation of projects based on offshore wind energy. We want to share our experience in building offshore wind farms, our knowledge of how to build strong local content, as well as our global position giving us an advantage in the supply market.” – concludes the CEO of EDF Renewables in Poland.