Polish market back in action

The wheels of Poland's wind sector are cranking into action after three years with wind capacity static at 60 MW. Two wind farms with a combined capacity of 72 MW will be built this year. EEZ, based in Warsaw, is developing a 50 MW plant at Tymien in north east Poland using Vestas 2 MW turbines and due for completion next month, while a 22 MW project of Gamesa 2 MW machines at Puck in the north west of the country, developed by Poland's EPA on behalf of Dipol, is due online later this year.

Broad agreement on Poland's renewable energy support rules lies behind the new activity, though some fine tuning is still expected. The government has set annual targets for the proportion of renewable energy in the supply mix and is requiring electricity retailers meet them through the acquisition of green power certificates. A strict penalty for not meeting the requirement is in place. It is to increase annually from 3.1% of electricity sales last year, to 3.6% in 2006, 4.3% in 2007, 5.4% in 2008 and 7% in 2009. A further target of 9% is set for 2012-2014.

Fiscal regulations have been amended to clearly define what proportion of tax applicable to wind projects will go to local parishes. Progress has also been made on the process of verifying which wind stations are eligible as Joint Implementation (JI) projects under the Kyoto Protocol arrangements -- both the Zagorze and Tymien projects are now being assessed for JI status, which would allow another country to invest in the projects and claim emission reduction credits.

The top priority in fine tuning the support rules is to define technical requirements for connecting plant to the electricity network, and develop rules for scheduling non-dispatchable generation and balancing it with demand, says the Polish wind association. Preparations must also be made for expanding the power grid where necessary.

America's Invenergy and British fund company Renewable Energy Generation acquired a majority stake in EEZ from renewable energy developer Energie Eco in November. The 50 MW plant at Tymien will become Poland's largest wind project to date, the biggest until now being the 30 MW Zagorze wind farm, comprising 15 Vestas machines, developed by EPA for Danish utility Elsam, and commissioned in 2003.

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