Poland starts talks on 10GW-plus offshore plans

The government has unveiled a first draft of a long-awaited offshore wind act, which outlines more than 10GW of capacity to be awarded by 2028.

The government hopes the consultation will help Poland create a legal framework for long-term support for offshore wind (pic: PXFuel)

Developers will look to secure offtake agreements, similar to the UK’s contract for difference (CfD) model, in two phases.

Up to 4.6GW will be selected by Poland's energy regulator by the end of 2022, before 5.5GW of further capacity will be competitively auctioned across at least three tenders between 2023 and 2028.

Under the proposals, developers would be eligible for government premium payments for 25 years, the Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW) said. Other renewable projects are only eligible 15-year contracts.

There is currently no provision for a legal minimum local content requirement, but developers would need to set and maintain a level on a project-by-project basis, according to the proposal, the PSEW advised Windpower Monthly.

The draft act is open to a 30-day consultation due to end on 14 February, and will help Poland create a legal framework for long-term support for offshore wind.

Janusz Gajowiecki, PSEW president, said potential investors, developers and suppliers would now be able to carry out a “detailed analysis” of the draft.

“This helps us start a broader and more specific discussion about the key role to be played by Baltic Sea offshore wind in ensuring Poland’s energy security in the transition process towards lower emissions," he said.

Up to 4.6GW of offshore wind projects could be selected before 31 December 2022.

These first Polish offshore wind farms would be likely to include the three most advanced projects in the country’s pipeline, PSEW told Windpower Monthly.

The projects have capacities of 1.2-1.44GW (Polenegeria and Equinor’s Baltyk II and III) 1.05GW (utility PGE’s Baltica 3) and 350MW (RWE’s FEW Baltic 2) for a total of 2.6-2.8GW (see below).

According to the proposed contracts, if the price obtained is lower than the one guaranteed by the state, they would be compensated the deficit, while if the market price is higher than the agreed price, the developer would refund the difference.

PSEW said the European Commission would need to approve support payments in this first phase as the contracts would not have been competitively tendered.

In a second phase, at least 5.5GW of future projects would compete for offtake agreements.

A first tender for 500MW would be held in 2023, followed by rounds for 2.5GW in 2025 and 2027.

However, an additional round for at least 500MW has been pencilled in for 2028, if the Polish council of ministers decide more capacity is needed.

In both phases, developers would have seven years to commission their wind farms after being granted support.

Local content

Developers must provide Poland's energy regulator with details of companies they intend to use in the supply chain and what footprint would be created in Poland, including where materials would be produced and what jobs and research and development opportunities would be created.

They would then need to report back every three years to ensure this footprint is maintained.

PSEW claimed the 10GW-plus pipeline could create 34,000 jobs during development and construction and 29,000 jobs for service and maintenance of the operational wind farms.

It also argued the country’s first offshore wind farms could help meet a deficit between power generation and demand forecast by Polish transmission system operator PSE and the ERO.