Development of available resources mean wind power alone could easily ensure Poland meets its EU renewable energy directive target, says the Polish Wind Energy Association (PWEA). The directive requires Poland to increase the share of renewables in energy supply to 15% by 2020 from 7.2% in 2005. That requires boosting annual output from 47 TWh in 2005 to 99 TWh.
A 2007 report, Assessment of wind energy development opportunities and potential in Poland until 2020, published by PWEA, says a minimum of 14 GW of wind energy could be installed by 2020, with annual output reaching 30 TWh, up from just 0.55 TWh last year. The 30 TWh would account for over 75% of the extra output from renewables needed. "This was a minimum volume, based on conservative assumptions," says PWEA's Jaroslaw Mroczek. "It does not take into account the potential of offshore project development or technological changes and the expected change in output of individual turbines that will occur over the next few years."
Under existing policy, however, that potential cannot be fulfilled. There are, says Mroczek, "numerous and serious obstacles." By the end of 2008, Poland's installed wind capacity was 442 MW, but growth is constrained by a current lack of transmission capacity (Windpower Monthly, March 2009). "There is a lack of clear and transparent rules for splitting grid connection costs between power grid operators and wind projects seeking connection to the grid," he adds. Further, boding badly for the future, "grid development and modernisation plans prepared up to today fail to fulfil their necessary role in the investment development process."
Environmental impact assessments are another difficult area. By the time investors submit environmental impact assessments, their data is often out of date, says Mroczek. The list of protected sites is constantly updated so environmental data acquired during pre-investment monitoring may be out of date when the permitting process starts. Poland has also implemented new environmental impact assessments standards which, unfortunately, "are interpreted differently by the various legal authorities," says Mroczek.
The slow pace of development is already hindering Poland from achieving existing targets, he points out. To comply with the 2001 EC renewables directive, the Polish government needs about 2 GW of wind installations by 2010, says PWEA. Still some 1.5 GW off that target, it has a long way to go.
Sara Knight, Windpower Monthly