Polish maritime spatial plan may delay licensing

Fears raised that government may suspend issuing further development rights

The Polish Ministry of Transport may use its decision to develop a maritime spatial plan as a reason to suspend issuing further licences for offshore wind projects, fears the Polish Offshore Wind Energy Society (Powes). The ministry is expected to embark on the plan before year-end.

"I am afraid that the Ministry will simply suspend issuing licenses once work on the spatial plan starts," explained Powes vice president Maciej Stryjecki, speaking with Windpower Offshore. Such a move might allow the government to delay or sidestep questions about how it should decide between bids from multiple companies for the same project rights.  

Polish maritime law currently does not include sufficiently clear regulations stipulating how decisions are reached during license competitions, said Stryjecki.

Transport minister Slawomir Nowak said last week  that his ministry will issue all 28 pending  offshore wind licenses during  the first quarter of 2013. Sixty-two applications in total have been received from companies seeking to develop offshore wind projects in the Polish Baltic Sea. Fourteen licenses have been issued thus far, while about a dozen applications have been rejected and nine withdrawn.

As Windpower Offshore reported last month, the ministry has received payment for just five of the 14 offshore wind licenses, raising the possibility that many of the developers that have won early licenses will choose not to take their projects forward. Fears that they will not be able to secure grid connections in time to meet required project milestones is thought to be a key reason for developers’ reluctance to proceed.

Minister Nowak himself seemed to confirm this last week, stating that the five projects for which licenses have been paid are "the only ones potentially to be realized, because they are seriously treated by the investors themselves".

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