Future Market? Renewable energies and photovoltaics in Poland

EEG PV PolenWierzchosławice has made the decision – further installations should follow soon: in September 2011 the village counting 10.000 inhabitants inaugurated its 1 MW solar park and thanks to this produced ten times more electricity from photovoltaic than all other PV-installations in Poland together. Poland seems to be the future market for photovoltaic. Many businessmen and investors await curiously the news from the Polish government. For one thing is clear: the Law on Renewable Energies will come soon!
Already at the end of 2011 the Minister of Economy, Wlademar Pawlak, has presented a draft for Renewable Energy Law. However, it is expected that the actual legislation will enter into force only in the middle of next year. As regards content it appears that the share of renewable energies in the energy mix will be required to rise to 19% by 2020. Also a guarantee of feed-in-tariffs for 15 years appears on the horizon. With this mean the small and mini installations are to be heavily subsidized. However, also for the bigger PV system profitable funding is planned.
Certificate trade over quotas
Until now the renewable energies have been integrated into the general energy law through the system of Tradable Green Certificate. According to it, the energy providers have to prove to have bought the appropriate (established by the state agency) share of green certificates. The certificates can be obtained though production of renewable energy or be bought on the market. Their value lies at around PLN 277 (Złoty), so around € 66,50. However, there are plenty loopholes. The energy providers can provide compensation fee, which is only slightly more expensive than the certificates. To do that, energy providers only have to prove that there are no renewable electricity producers in the vicinity.
As an additional incentive for developing renewable energies in Poland serves the current state of energy generation in Poland – over 80% of the Polish electricity production comes from the coal-fired power plants dated for the 1970s and 1980s. Many of them will be soon disconcerted from the grid due to their old age – for this reason until 2020 coal power stations with the total capacity of 7 GW will be closed and until 2030 around 15 GW. Meanwhile the demand for electricity is increasing. Hence, this poses perfect conditions for renewables to fill this gap.
Change is dependent on the administration and the society
The rapid development could be hindered through bureaucratic obstacles. Investors should definitely inform themselves beforehand whether the planned area has the original agricultural use. Successful rededication of such land will only be possible in case of poor conditions for cultivating this area. Additionally, for installation with capacity of above 2 MW there has to be a grid-testing expertise issued, what can lead to delays in receiving the grid connection.
The Polish government assumes in its planning scenarios a maximal growth of photovoltaic of 1,8 GW until 2020. There was nothing said about an overall cap of the capacity, however, one could fear that an enormous (over)growth of PV in a short time will lead to cuts in subsidies.
One is clear – in the next years the energy mix in Poland will change. Vital for the extent and most importantly the speed of change will first of all be the details of the upcoming Renewable Energy Law, as well as the readiness of the society and communities to offer the area for PV projects.
Sources: photovoltaik.eu, photovoltaik.org, Sonne Wind & Wärme 8/2012 S.228-229, EurObserv’ER, Gramwzielone.pl