June 24, 2020 Read More →

Poland emerging as major growth market for renewable energy

Bloomberg:

Poland, which currently relies on coal for more than 70% of its electricity generation, is stepping up efforts to replace the dirty fuel with renewable energy. As the country finalizes its 2040 energy policy, some of the world’s biggest players in renewables are seeking to capture a share of the market.

“Poland is busier than any market I’ve seen since I’ve been working in renewables,” said Gary Bills, regional director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at energy consultants K2 Management. “There’s massive interest in on and offshore wind.”

It marks a drastic turnaround for Poland’s ruling Law & Justice party, which went from a blocker of wind farms to booster, amid the plummeting cost of renewables and a public backlash against some of the dirtiest air on the continent. The government’s shift also comes as the European Commission proposes linking its 750 billion-euro ($841 billion) economic stimulus program to the bloc’s climate goals.

Poland will increase its renewable power capacity by 65% from 2019 to 2024, mostly from onshore wind farms, according to International Energy Agency estimates. The country’s first offshore wind turbines, in the Baltic Sea, are expected to start producing power by 2025.

The conditions in Poland’s Baltic Sea are ideal for the giant turbines increasingly common off the coasts of the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands. There’s strong wind resources, shallow waters and the sites are near to shore, Roszak said.

Poland’s government estimates its offshore wind potential will be about 10 gigawatts of capacity, or about a quarter of the nation’s current total available generation. Industry groups think it could be nearly three times higher. That could unleash billions of dollars in investment over the coming years. PGE, the country’s biggest utility, estimates that it will cost about 12 billion zloty ($3 billion) to build every gigawatt of offshore wind capacity.

[Will Mathis and Maciej Martewicz]

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