The Baltic – A Sea of Opportunities for Poland
The Baltic Sea holds an offshore wind potential of 40GW, according to a report by Baltic Sea Region Energy Co-operation (BASREC) from 2012. However, some of the countries whose coasts are splashed by the Baltic Sea are still struggling with regulatory framework when it comes to offshore wind development.
One of these is Poland, which has an estimated offshore wind potential of 6GW by 2030, but is still working on some legislative issues.
Offshore WIND recently spoke with Arkadiusz Sekscinski, Vice-President of Polish Wind Energy Association’s (PWEA) Board, to gain insight into the country’s offshore wind status and prospects.
Offshore wind meets the law
“Since the sector started to develop in Poland, new issues continue to appear, which usually have to be solved by legislative measures, for they arise out of deficiencies in the Polish law. This is a new technology and we still have to gain experience, learning step by step and defining new needs as they appear,” Sekscinski said.
The latest amendment to the Act on Maritime Areas, made in October 2015, introduced several key changes, such as extension of the deadline for the acquisition of a building permit, necessary to maintain validity of the location permit, Sekscinski said.
The act, which is the fundamental legislation on location permits for offshore wind farms, has seen several amendments in the recent years.
“The second crucial document is the RES Act, which defines the RES support scheme in Poland. The RES Act includes a number of dedicated, narrow-scoped offshore solutions; however, the innovative technology needs a dedicated support scheme to stimulate its development and decrease costs. As an industry, we stress the need for a dedicated support scheme for offshore wind energy,” Sekscinski explained.
Polish renewable energy target for 2030 is still being discussed at the governmental level, as well as in a dialogue with the European Commission. This issue was also discussed during a visit of the European Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete to Poland on 14-15 January.
Poland could achieve ambitious targets if it acknowledges the vast renewable energy potential, in particular in wind energy, according to Arkadiusz Sekscinski.
Projects in the pipeline
Most probably, Poland will not see offshore wind turbines spinning off its coast before 2020, as the first Polish offshore wind projects may be completed in 2022/2023. By analysing investors’ interest and plans, the acquired location permits, as well as the concluded interconnection agreements, it is possible to determine the country’s potential by 2030, which amounts to 6GW.
PGE Energia Odnawialna, which kicked off an environmental survey process for its Baltica 2 and 3 projects, had received connection conditions and signed an interconnection agreement for 1,045.5MW.
“Among all the investments planned by PGE, the one has the potential to be the first to be completed, however it may not be the first in the Polish maritime areas,” Sekscinski said.
Polenergia is planning to commission its first offshore wind farm, the 600MW Polenergia Bałtyk III (Bałtyk Środkowy III), in 2022. Environmental studies have already been concluded, and an application for an environmental decision for the project has been filed.
Polish companies already have what it takes
Achieving 6GW by 2030 would boost the country’s economy, positively affecting the development of coastal areas and creating more than PLN 73 billion (approx. EUR 16.55 billion) of value added by 2025. Sekscinski added that, according to Warsaw Institute for Economic Studies (WISE), the wind energy sector could bring 42,000 jobs by 2030, of which three quarters would be created by offshore wind.
“Further development of the Polish base for offshore projects in the Baltic Sea will not only boost development of coastal areas, but also contribute to the decrease in actual costs of projects implemented in the Polish maritime areas,” Sekscinski pointed out.
The offshore wind development has already brought major opportunities to the Polish economy, mainly in shipbuilding and port industry, with Polish companies winning contracts in the sector for building ships, towers, foundations, platforms and other equipment for offshore wind farms.
“We have a quite strong supply chain for the offshore wind industry. The production of foundations, towers and other components for offshore wind turbines as well as dedicated wind farm construction vessels has already become the speciality of the Polish shipyards in Gdynia and Gdańsk, which soon will be joined by Szczecin and Świnoujście.”
As great examples of Polish companies taking advantage of the booming industry, Sekscinski named Bilfinger Mars Offshore, which is producing jackets, and manufacturers of steel constructions Bladt Industries Polska Sp. z o.o. and Finomar.
Furthermore, CRIST Shipyard is building offshore wind farm construction and service vessels, GSG Towers is manufacturing onshore and offshore towers, Polimex-Mostostal is providing offshore structures, and VISTAL Capital Group is manufacturing wind turbine towers and steel structures.
Regional cooperation key to success
Arkadiusz Sekscinski also stressed the need for regional cooperation, which could enable an advanced use of the vast renewable energy potential of the countries at the Baltic Sea and contribute to better integration of the energy market in the European Union.
“The Baltic Sea Region is a privileged region with massive renewable energy potential. PWEA believes that the regional cooperation will facilitate RES growth in the region,” Sekscinski said.
He went on to say that, according to IHS CERA, more than 100GW of new renewable energy capacity could be built in the Baltic Sea region by 2030, of which two thirds would be in the wind sector, both onshore and offshore, with a further quarter in PV.
The European Commission has proposed the Baltic Sea region to introduce three pilot solutions for the entire energy market in Europe. These include developing a proposal of a joint 2030 action plan for renewable energy development in the region, closer cooperation of renewable energy support schemes or establishment of a joint offshore support scheme, and deep adjustments to the energy market leading to better integration with the market.
“Realisation of these three milestones will make this region a leader in the development of renewables sources,” Arkadiusz Sekscinski highlighted.
Written by Adrijana Buljan