'Crazy' Polish policies 'send the wrong signals'

POLAND: According to the government's draft energy strategy to 2040, the increase of onshore wind will not continue at the rate it has in recent years, signaling yet another setback for the industry.

Polish onshore wind capacity could fall to just 800MW by 2040 under the strategy (pic: Polenergia)

"An important difficulty of using wind power onshore is the lack of dependence between when it works and the energy demand," the government wrote in the draft strategy, which is now out for consultation.

As a result, the government plans not to add any new wind capacity after the completion of the auction process it is currently in – the latest round of which was awarded in mid-November.

Trade association WindEurope hit out at the plans, warning Poland’s onshore wind capacity could fall from just over 6GW today, to as little as 800MW in 2040 as older projects are decommissioned, peaking at 7GW in 2025.

The strategy added further development of onshore wind would depend on costs and "possibilities of balancing". It also suggested using community involvement to minimise local opposition to sites.

Meanwhile, offshore wind will play and increasing part of the mix, with 10.3GW of capacity expected by 2040. However the first projects might not be online before 2025.

The government said the use of offshore wind depends on strengthening the grid system in the north of the country.

Solar projects appear to have more of the government’s backing with capacity growing from 900MW in 2020 to 20.2GW by 2040.

The government also signaled the importance energy storage will have in supporting the growth of renewables.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson criticised the government’s strategy: "This is really disappointing on onshore wind. And it makes no sense economically. You expand your power capacity but you don’t use the cheapest form of new power generation?

"It’s crazy, not least when it has just run its first onshore wind auction and got extremely competitive prices.

"Plus, they announce this just one week before they host the annual UN climate negotiations (COP24) in Katowice — it sends all the wrong signals. Poland really needs to go back to the drawing board with this one."

Also under its draft strategy, the government envisages domestic power capacity to almost double from 40GW to 73GW. Renewable energies are expected to provide roughly 27% of the demand.

Coal’s share of final consumption is expected to fall from 80% today to 60% by 2030, while nuclear power is expected to grow by 6-9GW.