Poland cannot afford to stop investing in offshore wind energy

Offshore wind energy has a huge potential in Poland – installed capacity of 11 GW, clean energy for one million households and providing jobs for tens of thousands of people. As Jarosław Broda, a representative of Baltic Power, assures, despite the complicated geopolitical situation related to the ongoing war in Ukraine, energy from offshore will start flowing on schedule in 2026. However, the growing industry is hoping for a modification of the existing support mechanism.

The Baltic represents a huge opportunity to develop a sustainable offshore industry and strengthen our country’s energy sovereignty. By 2040, thanks to the investors involved in the creation of offshore wind energy, Poland is expected to have a minimum of 11 GW of installed capacity, and the new sector of the economy will provide new jobs.

The debate, organised by the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, concerned planning optimal solutions for the further development of the sector, which is taking place in an era of constantly changing economic and legal conditions. The issue is even more important as the aspects given, have a direct impact on the timely implementation of strategic offshore projects.

The debate was attended by representatives of the most important entities involved in shaping the new Polish energy sector: Katarzyna Szwed-Lipińska (Energy Regulatory Office), Jarosław Broda (Baltic Power), Dariusz Lociński (PGE Baltica), Marcin Ścigan (Ministry of Climate and Environment), Marek Suski (MP for the Polish Parliament) and Janusz Gajowiecki (Polish Wind Energy Association).

Offshore wind energy has enormous potential, but significant financial outlays are needed to unlock this potential. In the context of this new sector of the national economy, potential investors, suppliers or business partners operate with strategies and budgets stretching over decades, which makes them even more sensitive to any negative signals coming from the market, argued Jarosław Broda, a board member of Baltic Power.

The construction of the Baltic Power offshore wind farm is a joint venture between ORLEN Group and Northland Power. The investment area, with a total area of approximately 131 km2, is located ca. 23 km north of the Baltic Sea coastline, at the level of Łeba and Choczew. The investment, with a capacity of up to 1.2 GW, scheduled for construction in 2024-2025, will ultimately power up to one million households in Poland with clean energy.

In addition to increases of up to several hundred per cent in the price of raw materials and components, the rising cost of financing – whether to obtain it or to secure currency – is also becoming a problem. These issues need to be addressed now – we need to make investment decisions now so that we can implement our project on schedule,” he added.

A representative of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, director of the Department of Renewable Energy, Marcin Ścigan, indicated that the ministry recognises the problems articulated by investors. He informed that in February this year, a draft law amending the Law on Renewable Energy Sources (UC99), which includes provisions to improve the situation of investors, was sent for consultation.

When asked whether there was a chance that these provisions could be proceeded with more quickly, he indicated that “currently, at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the provisions on offshore wind energy are being considered to be taken out of the UC99 bill and proceeded with a separate, faster legislative path”. In turn, Marek Suski, MP, chairman of the Committee on Energy and State Assets, declared that if a draft of such a law is submitted to the Polish Sejm, it will be proceeded with in an express mode, as Poland cannot afford delays in commissioning offshore wind farms.

The demand for offshore wind energy services and components is global – the potential of this relatively new technology to ensure a stable supply of green energy has been recognised not only in Europe, but also on other continents. Therefore, we need to secure key subcontractors immediately, so that we are not overtaken in this by the competition, which entails considerable expenses,’ noted Jarosław Broda.

Dariusz Lociński, President of the Management Board of PGE Baltica, agreed with this opinion. The expert declared that the timetable of work on the Baltica 2 and Baltica 3 projects with a total capacity of around 2.5 GW remains the same (planned start-up in the second half of 2026). However, it does not change the fact that the volatility in the foreign exchange market is causing some concern among potential business partners.

The situation is much more difficult than before 24 February. The last few years, marked by the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine, show that hard times have come for large, long-term investments, but we are doing everything to meet the deadlines,’ admitted Dariusz Lociński.

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