Europe 2020 targets - Poland

POLAND: Poland has set an installed wind power target for 2020 of 6.65GW, compared to just over 1.1GW at the end of 2010. Wind associations are critical, claiming the country could achieve 13GW.

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The national action plan predicts an onshore contribution of 6.15GW, with a further 500MW offshore. Wind capacity will need an annual rise of 547MW from 2011-2020, compared to 212MW average annual growth during the past five years. 

The government’s policy is to preserve power and heating plants using solid fuels, principally coal. However, widespread criticism from wind and renewable energy associations has centred on the action plan’s dependence on biomass. They believe that biomass resources will not fulfil even half of predicted demand. But the government is counting on imports to bridge this gap. Low wind energy targets could also discourage essential investment in the grid for wind development, as the plan favours coal power plants burning biomass, which already have grid connection.

Planned changes to support schemes are also causing concern. Currently wind farm developers receive one green certificate for each MWh of wind electricity worth €68 and a guaranteed €50.5 for electricity sold. But the government is now considering limiting green certificates to the 6.65GW of wind power stipulated in the plan. So developers who build farms after the national wind target is achieved may not benefit. 

New grant scheme could benefit wind

But there is another option being weighed up by the government that could be attractive to the wind industry. Poland wants to use some of the income from 500 million AAUs (Kyoto Treaty-based carbon credits) for grants to wind developers instead of issuing green certificates. There are no details as yet.

The Polish National Renewable Energy Action Plan has addressed none of the wind sector’s concerns sector, notably the obstacle of insufficient grid capacity. Local grid operators are not under pressure from government to invest in connecting new renewable sources. In fact, government action has increased uncertainty among investors as the provisions of a new renewable energy act could actually block capacity development beyond the country’s target. The act is scheduled to be passed this year, but no draft has been published so far.

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