Government representatives, investors and stakeholders from the offshore wind supply chain signed a letter of intent to cooperate on developing offshore wind in Poland.
Under the terms of the letter, the country’s climate minister will coordinate regular meetings where signatories will exchange information on progress and experience of developing offshore wind.
The Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW) stated that the declaration between government and industry “will be similar in character to UK's sector deal for offshore wind, but it will take into account Polish reality and conditions”.
The UK sector deal between government and industry set out a goal of reaching 30GW installed capacity in UK waters by 2030. It included promises of investment in supply chain development and energy infrastructure, plans to work with further education institutions, and enabling workers to move between offshore wind energy sectors.
When the UK signed its sector deal, the country had 8.2GW of operational offshore wind power capacity and had built up the manufacturing footprint and experience necessary to achieve this. Meanwhile, Poland currently has no operational sites and no direct experience in the sector.
Poland aims to award more than 10GW of offshore wind capacity by 2028, according to a first draft of its offshore wind act, unveiled in January. Publication of a final draft has been pushed back while the government combats the coronavirus pandemic, but is still expected to pass this year.
PSEW president Janusz Gajowiecki added: “The Baltic Sea offers some of the world's most favourable conditions. Therefore, the planned construction of 10 GW offshore is treated as a first step.
“Poland has a chance to become a leader in the Baltic Sea, with a potential of up to 28GW by 2050."
The Polish government sees economic opportunity in offshore wind, including exporting clean energy, climate minister Michal Kurtyka said. Gajowiecki added that offshore wind development in the Polish Baltic Sea could attract investment worth more than PLN 130 billion (€29.1 billion).
Meanwhile, Poland’s national defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that diversifying the country’s energy resources and generating electricity itself is vital for energy independence, which is “an important component of national security”.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson hailed the letter as the “birth of offshore wind in Poland”, and added: “With this joint ‘letter of Intent’, the Polish government and industry send a strong sign to investors and markets that they want lots of offshore wind too and are putting in place a regulatory framework to support it.”
Established developers such as Iberdrola, Equinor and Ørsted are working with Polish energy companies to target projects in the Baltic Sea. Meanwhile, RWE Renewables is developing a 1.5GW-plus pipeline in Polish waters.