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Renewables ‘not a priority’ in new Polish energy law

06 Feb 2013 13:21:40 | edem

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Poland is certain to cut subsidies for onshore windpower generators in its new energy bill by 10%, a Warsaw-based lawyer told ICIS on Wednesday.

"Renewables are not a priority in the new law," said Karol Lasocki, legal adviser at law firm K&L Gates. "Coal is big, and will remain big, continuing to be the base of electricity generation in Poland for the next 30 to 40 years. Then, after coal comes gas, and last is renewables."

The cut, from 1 green certificate/MWh to 0.9/MWh, will stifle onshore wind development, chief executive of Polish utility Enea Artur Rozycki said, adding that investors should "not be optimistic" about the looming legislation: "For renewables investors, it's worse than the former system."

But he said Poland would hit its 2020 renewable energy targets, despite the subsidy cuts, putting his faith in solar and offshore wind development to take up much of the slack.

And in addition, a huge 20GW of onshore wind projects have already accepted grid connection offers, according to Rozycki: "Not all of this will be constructed - only around one-third will get built. But if you take into account solar as well, we will pass our [2020] target."

The 20GW figure is so large that the energy system is at saturation point. No further grid connection offers can be made to onshore wind generators without substantial investment in transmission infrastructure, Rozycki said.

Support

According to Lasocki, while onshore subsidies are cut back, financial support for offshore wind plants will be raised to 1.8 green certificates per MWh - double the 0.9/ MWh that will be granted to onshore plants.

The energy bill has been subject to several redrafts over the past few months. It is expected to receive approval this year, coming into force in 2014.

Poland has a 2020 renewable energy target of 15% set by the EU. This translates to a 19% target within the electricity sector, according to the government's National Renewable Energy Action Plan.

"We will meet our targets with no problem," Rozycki said.

The looming legislation will transpose the EU internal energy market rules into Polish law. Late last year, the country was referred to the Court of the Justice of the EU because of chronic delays to the legislation (see EDEM 21 November 2012).

The bill will also liberalise the Polish gas market, which is dominated by just one gas supplier, PGNiG. Jamie Stewart and Matilde Mereghetti

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