Wind farms in the Baltic Sea. Will a special act be necessary?

The Polsat Plus Group and the Polsat Foundation together for the children of Ukraine

Legal environment for industry development off the coast today it undoubtedly looks better than a few years ago, mainly due to the production promotion law electric energy in navy wind farmswhich entered into force at the beginning of 2021 and laid the foundations for the development of such projects. Nevertheless, in terms of regulations, the situation of the offshore industry is still far from ideal.

– What we may be missing in the coming years that will be a bottleneck in development offshore wind energy, there are regulations that still insufficiently guarantee that the development process will take place quickly enough – says Michał Piekarski, partner at Baker McKenzie. In his view, implementing such large investments may require not cosmetic changes to laws or regulations, but a dedicated special law. You need, among other things, a decisive acceleration of the process of issuing administrative decisions and granting new permits for establishment in the Baltic Sea. Otherwise, it will not be possible to meet the ambitious investment schedules, according to which by 2030 the installed capacity in offshore power plants could even reach 10 GW, much more than planned in the current Polish energy policy until 2040.

– Projects in Poland are developed in two phases. The first, which is now practically at the stage of purchasing and ordering goods and services for the realization of these projects. The second, on the other hand, is at a crucial moment in the granting of new installation permits in the Baltic Sea. This second phase is regulated by the so-called overriding regulation. And there, there are issues related to the interpretation of this regulation and emotions related to where this regulation will lead us, who will receive locate permits for The Baltic Sea. It is therefore possible to constantly improve these regulations and make them unambiguous, without necessarily promoting specific groups of investors, and such a threat may indeed exist at the moment, says Michał Piekarski of the Newseria Biznes agency.

In the autumn of last year, a sectoral agreement was concluded for the development of offshore wind energy in Poland, the signatories of which are, among others, government administrations and key ministries, entities from the education and science, investors and industry organizations – more than 200 entities in total. The document, which has been well received by the industry, is to form the basis for cooperation and contribute to the maximization of so-called local content, i.e. to share Polish entrepreneurs in the offshore wind energy supply chain.

The government also announced simplifications in administrative procedures related to the construction of wind farms in the Polish exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea. However, the expert believes that this is still not enough to speed up the development of such projects.

According to estimates by WindEurope, quoted in the PWEA report (“Vision for the Baltic. Vision for Poland”), the Polish waters of the Baltic Sea have the potential to install 28 GW of capacity. Looking ahead to 2050, wind farms at sea could satisfy nearly 60 percent. domestic electricity demand.

However, this is an optimistic long-term prospect that would require strong development impetus and industry facilitation in the implementation of such projects. So far, the government’s strategy assumes that by the end of this decade, the installed capacity in offshore should reach about 5.9 GW, and in 2040 – 11 GW.

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