Offshore wind energy in Poland
Development of the offshore wind energy projects at the Polish maritime area has been remaining at the planning stage due to necessity of conducting legislative changes which shall facilitate secure implementation of the offshore wind farms, reducing economic risks arising from its current shape. Besides growing interest of large energy companies in offshore wind projects, Poland has possessed a significant industrial potential for the development of the offshore wind energy sector, based on the shipyard industry located along the Polish coast – in Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin and the co-operating industries, which profiles respond to the needs of the OWE sector , both in terms of the wind turbines’ construction elements, installation works and production of dedicated vessels serving transportation and installation of the offshore wind turbines. Therefore, development of the offshore wind energy constitutes an attractive alternative to the traditional specialization of the Polish shipyard industry. Hence, improvement of the conditions for the offshore wind investments may become a catalyst both for the sector itself as well as for the shipyard industry and co-operating industries.
Surface of the Polish Maritime Area equals 8682 km˛ while the surface of Polish Exclusive Economic Zone equals to 22 500 km˛. Within the area, 2747 km˛ are constituted by maritime protected areas, belonging to Natura2000 network. Maritime Institute of Gdansk indicates technical potential of the Polish Maritime Area and the exclusive economic zone is assessed at 20 GW. However that value must be corrected with the exclusion zones (protected areas within Natura2000 network) that reduces the potential down to 7.5 GW. However, different figures appear in various strategic documents regarding the market potential of the Polish maritime area and the exclusive economic zone in terms of OWE development. According to the analyses of the Institute for Renewable Energy, market potential for 2020 is assessed at 1.5 GW. The National Renewable Energy Action Plan submitted to the European Commission at the end of 2010, indicates the market potential at the level of 500 MW by 2020.
In order to lay solid ground for development of the offshore wind farms, also interconnection capacities are required to facilitate energy transfer from the marine areas to the grid and also, potentially, allow cross-border interconnections improving security of energy transfers. For this purpose the consortium was founded, consisting of the companies specialized in wind energy, power engineering as well as renewable energy R&D, which aims to develop the Polish Offshore Grid, within the border of the Polish Maritime Area. The consortium consists of the following entities:
- AOS Sp. z o.o. – Gdansk Branch,
- ENERGOPROJEKT Krakow S.A.
- ELTEL Grid S.A.
The consortium is being supported by the research and development institutions, such as the Maritime Institute of Gdansk, the Foundation for Sustainable Power Engineering Development (Warsaw) and the Institute for Renewable Energy (Warsaw).
The maps below present the potential locations of the offshore wind farms and mileage of the power transmission cables, as well as the maritime protected areas included into the Natura2000 network.
At the present moment major barrier hindering development of the offshore wind farms at the Polish EEZ is constituted by the act on the spatial management of the maritime areas of the Republic of Poland and maritime administration that had been prepared mostly for the sake of the offshore oil drilling. The act in its current shape results in significant risk for the OWE project economics. According to the act, the potential investor is obliged to incur 1% of the total investment cost, in order to receive a location approval. The law states also that the construction can remain at the maritime area just for the period of 5 years that is far less than the exploitation period of the offshore wind farm.
Currently, legislative works are being conducted in the Polish Parliament to improve the act on spatial management of the maritime areas of the Republic of Poland and maritime administration and adjust it to the needs of the offshore wind energy.