While Poland has not been immune from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government moved to support the wind industry, allowing the construction of onshore wind farms to continue even during lockdown and giving investors up to 12 extra months to complete projects.
A total 339W of new onshore capacity was brought online in the first eight months of 2020, bringing the total to 6,256MW, figures from transmission system operator PSE show. Prospects are positive, as the government has announced it will soften distance rules that had impeded onshore wind project development.
Covid-19 and higher carbon prices have led the government to update its energy policy to 2040 (PEP2040). Kamila Tarnacka, deputy CEO of Polish wind energy association PSEW, says the updated policy is a step in the right direction but underestimates the potential of wind.
PEP2040 calls for up to 10GW of onshore wind by 2030, a level PWEA expects to reach around 2023, as projects awarded contracts in 2018 and 2019 auctions are commissioned. The updated energy policy sees 8-11GW of offshore wind by 2040, while Tarnacka says up to 17GW of wind farms could be built in the Polish Baltic Sea by that year.
The plan also envisions entering the nuclear power sector — just as some EU countries move the other way as part of their energy transition — and aims to see its first, 1.0-1.6GW nuclear plant operational in 2033, followed by new reactors every two or three years to reach total capacity of 6-9GW. The government claims building nuclear plants is necessary to provide baseload capacity as coal’s share of power generation decreases.