Usually during the summer holidays not much is happening when it comes to legislation, including regulations on the energy industry. However, this summer the offshore wind farm sector will be subject to intensive legislative work. In the middle of the vacation an offshore sectoral agreement may be signed, which will provide the investors with technical guidelines on constructing the farms – writes Bartłomiej Sawicki, editor at BiznesAlert.pl.
During the Jagiellonian Institute’s conference on offshore wind energy, Ireneusz Zyska, the Deputy Minister of Climate and the Environment, said that at the turn of July and August a sectoral agreement is to be signed. “Its goal is to maximize the local Polish input in the development of offshore wind energy. I believe that this is the beginning of work on expanding the entire offshore sector,” he said.
The Polish offshore wind sector wants to follow in the footsteps of Great Britain. London has prepared the so-called sectoral agreement for offshore wind farms, which determines:
• the development of human capital and its engagement;
• support system;
• development of infrastructure;
• business environment;
• room for new permits;
• technical requirements.
Around 40 companies participated in the talks about the Polish sectoral agreement for offshore wind farms. In October, six working groups were set up, which focus on key areas: educating the personnel and developing the education system, research and development, growing Polish industry and participation of Polish companies, logistics for the port facilities and impact on seaside regions, social education and cooperation of stakeholders. Their goal is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience between the communities engaged in the development of the offshore wind sector.
Group 1: Educating the personnel and developing the education system
1. Subgroup for reviewing laws that impact the admittance to work of offshore wind employees.
2. Subgroup for drafting curricula for high schools and schools of higher education.
3. Subgroup for encouraging women to work in the wind sector.
Group 2: Research and development
Group 3: Growing Polish industry and participation of Polish companies (with export)
1. Subgroup for supply chain.
2. Subgroup for financial instruments and insurance.
3. Subgroup for export.
Group 4: Logistics for the port facilities and impact on seaside regions
Group 5: Social education
1. Subgroup for communication tools.
2. Subgroup for questions and answers.
Group 6: cooperation of stakeholders
1. Subgroup for fishery and shipping.
2. Subgroup for national defense.
3. Subgroup for environmental protection.
Every group has a coordinator responsible for selecting the topics, schedules, milestones and the expected results of cooperation, which are discussed and verified by the coordinator of the letter of intent to set the joint direction of action. The group coordinators also moderate the work within the groups.
Plan for sea areas
However, in order to end the process of drafting the sectoral agreement, the legislative works on a number of regulations and delegated acts need to be completed. Katarzyna Krzywda, Deputy Head of the Renewable Energy Sources Department at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, enumerated a number of documents that needed to be adopted as soon as possible for the offshore wind industry, which will be developed on the basis of the future auction system in 2025. Offshore wind farms will be constructed on the third of the sea area, an exclusive economic zone and territorial sea. According to the Climate Ministry, which cooperated with the Ministry of Infrastructure, the offshore installed capacity may amount to as much as 15 GW. The Polish Energy Policy says that by 2040 that figure should reach 10.9 GW. There are seven new areas where offshore wind farms will be built; however, if we take into consideration the fact that one of the areas is split into four, there are in total eleven areas where the farms will be built. The plan itself entered into force at the end of May, and had been adopted by the Council of Ministers in mid-April. The plans are to be updated every ten years at a minimum, even though Krzywda stressed it would happen earlier than it had been planned. During the consultations, the offshore sector has stressed that it would be worth to shorten the period between revisions of the plans on expanding the area where offshore farms could be built to every two years. According to the Polish Wind Energy Association, by 2050 there may be as much as 28 GW of offshore installed capacity in the Polish area of the Baltic Sea.
Regulations that the offshore sector is waiting for
The Ministry of Climate and Environment is currently working on issuing delegated acts for the Act on offshore wind farms, also called the Offshore act. The government is working on detailed requirements for the parts of the set of appliances used for power evacuation and for elements of substations located at the sea. They will set the parameters for technical appliances at the sea for investors. The interested ministries are currently discussing this project. Work is also being done on a plan for reports on implementing the supply chain of materials and services. However, the ministry expects that it will not be needed earlier than in 2022. Important regulations will be adopted by other ministries, not just the Climate Ministry. They are necessary to join the auction system for offshore farms and projects from the “second round”.
This pertains to the governmental works on the settlement proceeding. It is of key importance with regard to acquiring the localization permit and implementing the project. It raises a lot of concerns, because it may condition the granting of a permit on the participation in the national supply chain. Next week, consultations are to be held between the Ministry of Climate and the Ministry of Infrastructure, which is the host of the regulation. This is the missing element on the way to participating in the auction. The same ministry should prepare technical regulations on sea safety.
Those regulations are to pertain to the expert analyses on the impact assessment of an offshore wind farm on the safety and efficiency of shipping in sea areas, the National Maritime Safety System, the Polish sea areas A1 and A2 Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and the Maritime Search and Rescue Service System. The included parameters are to prevent any interference with the maritime safety and border radio broadcasts. The Ministry of Defense together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration are also drafting regulations on technical analyses on the impact of offshore wind farms and sets of equipment on the radiolocation, technical surveillance and maritime connection display system of the Border Patrol and the Polish army. This pertains to selecting equipment and parameters that will not impact security at sea.