Polish power struggle over offshore wind support

Industry lobby confident it can win bigger incentives for projects

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Polish ministries are still split over the level of support to be granted to offshore wind farms, but the Polish Offshore Wind Energy Society (POWES) and Foundation for Sustainable Energy, FNEZ, are optimistic that offshore wind will receive adequate support, Windpower Offshore has learned.

Several key ministries, including the economy ministry, oppose demands to increase the number of green certificates for offshore wind from the 1.8/MWh currently envisaged in the draft renewable energy law to the 2-2.3/MWh suggested by industry lobbyists. The draft is due for parliamentary scrutiny by the end of March 2013.

However, the Polish Treasury is now supporting the industry’s requests, according to Maciej Stryjecki, president of the FNEZ. The industry is behind a two-tariff system whereby green certificates are awarded at 2/MWh for most projects and at 2.3/MWh for those located further away from shore. The Treasury is instead proposing a flat rate of 2.1/MWh, which is an acceptable compromise for the industry.

The Treasury is rallying support for offshore wind following the award of development licences to two state-controlled power groups, PGE EO and PKN Orlen, last August.

Industry lobbyists have had an opportunity to present their arguments to the economy ministry in a series of recent meetings, Stryjecki told Windpower Offshore. "We both agreed that the Ministry used 2011 data to calculate capital expenditure for offshore wind farms, while we use up-to-date data. We shall hold further discussions on updating the data and reaching an agreement on how to calculate the required level of support," Stryjecki said.

According to FNEZ, government proposals are based on an unrealistic estimate of costs below €3.1m/MW. In reality, projects cost an average of €3.64m/MW, and up to €4m/MW in locations furthest from shore, the Foundation said.

Industry concerns are compounded by the dramatic fall in the value of green certificates. The proportion of total energy supply that Polish utilities must source from renewables has yet to be confirmed by the government. If demand for them continues to be low, there will be further price drops. In 2012, the value of Polish green certificates fell by 36%. It was PLN 180 (€44) in January 2013, against an original price of PLN 288.


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