Construction of first Polish offshore project to start in 2018

Wind assessment and permitting now imminent for Baltyk Srodkowy I

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Construction of Poland’s first offshore wind farm, the 600MW Baltyk Srodkowy I, should start in 2018, according to developer Kulczyk Investments (KI).

The project is still in the early stages of development, but via its offshore development arm Polenergia, KI is now moving on to wind resource assessment and permitting.

To be located in the Polish Baltic Sea, Baltyk Srodkowy I's current estimated cost is EUR 1.98bn. KI’s chief executive, Dariusz Mioduski, said earlier this month that he hoped the price would come down over time.

KI is determined to progress its offshore wind plans, despite considerable uncertainty on the future regulatory regime for renewable energy in Poland. The country is more than two years late in transposing the EU’s renewable energy directive.

A draft energy law promises to support offshore wind projects through a so-called correction coefficient of 1.8, the value by which the market price of green certificates would be multiplied. The industry is lobbying to have this rate increased to at least 2, which the government has instructed a consultancy firm to consider. But the level of support would be revised every few years, raising investors' risk.

There is a certain amount of confidence in Poland's offshore wind potential, which a recent report by Ernst & Young put at 6GW by 2025. However, Polish grid operator PSE said in March that the country’s energy system can only absorb 8GW of wind power by 2025. As of 31 March 2013, there was 2.65GW of onshore wind power installed in Poland, according to data from the Energy Regulatory Office.

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