Poland’s first offshore wind project could produce electricity as soon as 2022/2023, the president of the Polish Wind Energy Association believes, if the Polish Government puts the right legislation in place.
A number of companies in Poland and outside the country have recently expressed interest in developing windfarms in the Baltic, including Polenergia (working with Norwegian energy company Statoil), PGE and PKN Orlen.
Speaking exclusively to OWJ, Polish Wind Energy Association president Janusz Gajowiecki confirmed that commercial-scale projects could move ahead quickly if the Polish Government formally commits to supporting offshore wind energy by the end of this year.
Poland does not have a dedicated subsidy scheme for offshore wind, but legislation promoting renewable energy auctions have been proposed as one potential way forward. Mr Gajowiecki said a contract for difference scheme of the type used in the UK could also be possible.
Mr Gajowiecki said he believed that Polenergia and Statoil could be first to market and produce electricity from offshore wind by 2022/23, an admittedly ambitious timeframe. He said that PGE, which also recently signalled interest in developing offshore windfarms, could produce electricity by 2025.
The Polish Government is also considering plans for nuclear power stations, but state-controlled PGE confirmed recently that it plans to abandon its leading role in efforts to build Poland’s first nuclear power station and focus on windfarms in the Baltic.
Reuters reported that PGE could not fund nuclear projects and was instead looking at offshore wind energy, where costs have fallen steeply. “PGE cannot afford offshore wind and nuclear. The decision was taken to go for offshore,” a source told Reuters. A government source also said that PGE would focus on offshore wind.
Forum Energii president Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera told OWJ “The fall in the cost of energy from offshore wind has been noted by the Polish Government. There is significant business interest in offshore wind energy in Poland. The government is considering it seriously.”
However, speaking at the European Economic Congress, Polish energy minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said he “could not imagine making a decision on offshore wind energy without first settling the issue of nuclear energy.”
Forum Energii’s president said development of offshore windfarms in the Baltic could also play into plans for constructing a new generation of electricity interconnectors in the region.