Not only the wind power sector, but also local governments and industry are waiting for the potential of onshore wind energy to be fully unlocked – this is the conclusion following the premiere of the report by experts from PSEW, the consulting firms TPA Poland and Baker Tilly TPA as well as the law firm DWF Poland, which took place online on May 11.
New investments in onshore wind energy offer an opportunity for a greener power mix, cheaper energy, and cleaner air.
Poland should quickly turn towards zero-emission
“Poland should quickly turn towards zero-emission, dispersed renewable sources, among which onshore wind energy has the greatest potential for development and dynamic growth of new capacities,” said Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW).
“The rapid development of onshore wind is not only an opportunity for ‘green’, emissions-free energy for households. Above all, it is a path to rapid electrification in sectors such as heating, transportation, and industrial processes. The cheapest power in the market, coming from onshore wind will decarbonize the Polish economy and immensely help it remain competitive in global markets. And clean air will be an added benefit,” Gajowiecki added.
The hopes for unfreezing the construction of new wind plants on land are provided by the government’s officially announced amendment to the Act on Wind Energy Investments of May 20, 2016 (the so-called Distance Law), which nearly five years ago completely halted the development of new wind projects, but often also the possibility of building houses. During the webinar, Anna Kornecka, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology, presented the assumptions of the draft amendment, which is currently in the process of public consultation.
More new onshore wind power plants
“Liberalization of the distance law, giving local authorities the right to decide on the location of new onshore wind power plants and the issues of distance, which may not be shorter than 500 meters, will enable further development of this technology, which will provide Poles with access to cleaner and cheaper energy. Local governments, on the other hand, will gain revenues which will allow them to carry out investments,” said Minister Kornecka.
“Cheaper, clean and reliable energy is also necessary to keep Polish industry competitive,” she argued.
“A stable regulatory environment for investors and, on the other hand, a change from rigid restrictions to a consensus process with the participation of local communities is a long-awaited and positive change,” commented Dr. Karol Lasocki, of the DWF law firm, referring to Minister Kornecka’s presentation.
“It is important to remember that in the case of wind farms the investment process nowadays is a multi-stage and lengthy one, requiring planning, many approvals and permits, both administrative and environmental. In order to enable the growth of new, modern generation capacity, we should move with the times – that is, simplify procedures for the construction of clean renewable energy sources,” Lasocki added.
Access to cheap, clean energy from RES
Stefan Dzienniak, President of the Polish Steel Association, also draws attention to the need to quickly provide access to cheap, clean energy from RES, both for economic and image-related reasons. “Manufacturers with the lowest energy costs are winning in global markets. If we want to keep the steelmaking and energy-intensive industries in Poland, we need to ensure that the most cost-competitive energy generation technologies, such as onshore wind, have good conditions for development. This is all the more important as the upcoming decarbonization of the steel industry will further significantly increase the sector’s demand for power,” added Dzienniak.
“RES auction results from 2018-2021 show that in terms of generation costs, onshore wind has no competition in Poland. Between 2018 and 2020, wind investors contracted a total of 161.8 TWh of electricity worth PLN 33.9 billion. Therefore, over the 15-year support period, the average price per MW has amounted to PLN 209, and wind power costs the taxpayer 24% less than the cost of electricity on PPE in April 2021,” said Wojciech Sztuba, Managing Partner, TPA Poland.
The price advantage of wind will continue to grow in the future, especially if we begin to develop onshore wind energy with the latest, most efficient technology. At the moment, the most efficient projects are turbines with an installed capacity of 5-6 MW, but the distance rule in force make it impossible to build them in Poland. It is in the best interest of both investors and energy consumers – households and businesses – to relax location restrictions for onshore wind investments as soon as possible.
Download full report
„Onshore wind energy in Poland” (pdf PL/EN)