Poland getting rules ready for take off -- Five-fold increase in capacity

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Wind capacity in Poland increased almost five-fold in 2001 and could rise even more this year. Eighteen turbines with a combined capacity of 23 MW went on-line in 2001, including six 833 kW Vestas machines at Barzowice and nine 2 MW turbines at Cisowo. This raises the total number of machines to 38 and installed capacity to 28 MW. "Growth could be even stronger this year once a system of feed-in tariffs has been agreed," says Robert Burzynski, wind energy expert at the Polish renewable energy agency, EC Baltic Renewable Energy Centre (BREC) in Warsaw.

The Polish government agreed last summer on a renewable energy strategy that foresees increasing the percentage of renewables generated electricity in the energy mix to 7.5% by 2010 and 14% by 2020. This is a "realistic but ambitious" goal that will "require action and competent use of the wealth of experience from other countries," says BREC. "But there are no effective penalties for companies failing to meet the minimum requirements and the strategy failed to introduce a system of fixed feed-in tariffs," Burzynski states.


There are more than a hundred energy companies with energy trading concessions operating in Poland. Under the strategy, they are currently obliged to include 2.5% renewables in their energy mix. "But they are reluctant to do so for cost reasons. There are penalties if they fail to take on the amount stipulated but these are not defined clearly enough," says Burzynski.

Power purchase prices for wind generated electricity are currently agreed bilaterally between plant operators and electricity companies. Last year they varied from POL 0.15/kWh (EUR 0.042/kWh) to POL 0.32/kWh (EUR 0.090/kWh), according to the Polish energy regulation agency. The higher rate is about the same as the end consumer price for electricity, according to Burzynski.

The situation should become clearer "once the environment ministry has given its blessing to a wind energy development program that it commissioned from BREC last year," Burzynski says. The 84-page document, which presents various scenarios of how the government's target could be reached using wind power, was completed in October. Burzynski was hoping it would be approved by the end of last month. Meanwhile, wind project development companies, particularly from Germany, are raring to get going in Poland including Plambeck Neue Energien of Cuxhaven and WindSolar of Darmstadt, which, like P&T, founded subsidiaries in Poland within the last two years.

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