A handful of offshore wind projects have been granted preliminary development approval by the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and Maritime Affairs (MIMA), with the majority of winning proposals going to companies owned by, or with close associations to, the Polish state.
MIMA has not yet disclosed information about the development permits it has issued thus far, nor a list of companies that initially applied for permits.
Three companies have announced they have received development licenses allowing them to progress with preliminary plans for offshore wind farms in Poland's section of the Baltic Sea. They are: PGE Energia Odnawialna (PGE EO), PKN Orlen and Kulczyk Holding.
PGE EO plans to build three offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3.5GW, with 1GW due to come online by 2020.
Kulczyk Holding plans 1GW, and is also hoping to have this online by 2020. Meanwhile, PKN Orlen intends to build 150MW by 2020, followed by a further 1.9GW. PGE EO and PKN Orlen are both controlled by the Polish state, while Kulczyk has strong ties to the national government.
Rumours are circulating that Belgian company, Deme, has also received a permit, although Windpower Offshore has been unable to confirm this.
Another company thought by some to have won a permit is Baltic Trade and Invest, run by German national Bernd von Wieding. Speaking with Windpower Offshore, von Wieding confirmed that his company is in the process of applying for a license, but has not yet received one.
A growing number of would-be offshore wind developers are raising concerns about opposition to their projects from the Ministries of Environmental Protection (MEP) and Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), according to Maciej Stryjecki, vice-president of the Polish Offshore Wind Energy Society (POWES)
Earlier this summer, the Polish government published details of a new financial incentive specifically designed to support offshore wind. The proposal is contained within the second version of the country’s draft renewable energy law, which should enter into law by the end of the year. In addition to an inflation-indexed guaranteed electricity price, which will start at €48.5/MWh, offshore wind farm operators are also due to receive 1.8 green certificates (worth about €130.5).
Combined, these two payments should provide offshore operators with a 15-year income of about €179/MWh. "This is a sufficient level of support because it is competitive compared to foreign support schemes," said Stryjecki.