Energy Renewables 11 September, 2019 2:00 pm   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Will a coordinator speed up the development of offshore in Poland? (REPORT)

PGE Baltica, a company owned by Polska Grupa Energetyczna, and Baltic Power, controlled by PKN Orlen, have signed a letter of intent on the collaboration on off-shore wind farm projects. The companies have finalised the agreement during this year’s Economic Congress in Krynica. The agreement concerns sharing of experience, knowledge and information between the companies that will be constructing off-shore wind farms.

Knowledge- and experience-based collaboration

The Deputy Minister of Energy Krzysztof Kubów has said that collaboration on off-shore power is in line with the global trend. “Poland’s 2040 Energy Policy provides for 10 GW off-shore wind capacity. Today’s agreement will allow both companies to gain high positions in Europe. We expect a maximisation of the results with the collaboration of the Polish companies in the off-shore wind farm sector. This is also an opportunity to get inexpensive energy” – he said.

According to the Deputy Minister of Energy Adam Gawęda, off-shore is an example of the energy transition process that allows complementing the conventional power sector and meeting the obligations towards the EU. This will also allow developing the sectors of the Polish economy. The CEO of PKN Orlen Daniel Obajtek has stressed that action is required to invest in new sources of energy. “PGE and Orlen have plans for off-shore. The collaboration will allow cost optimisation. It will be an exchange of knowledge and experience so as not to overlap activities and not to pump up the costs. It is also about cost optimisation when getting the permits” – he stressed.

In turn, Henryk Baranowski, CEO of PGE has added that the Polish champions can share knowledge and experience for the benefit of the country. “PGE is undergoing a transformation as shown by the agreements with KGHM, PKP and now with PKN Orlen” – he said.

PKN Orlen and PGE commence collaboration on off-shore

An off-shore coordinator needed?

During a discussion panel following the agreement signing, its participants talked among others about the need for a coordinator of off-shore wind farms. Monika Morawiecka, CEO of PGE Baltica has said that the just signed letter of intent on collaboration provides a stimulus to the off-shore wind farms sector. “I hope it will lead to the intensification of the Polish industry so as to create a local contribution by Polish investors. Jarosław Dybowski, Director for Energy at PKN Orlen has added that already 70 Polish companies were identified that can provide the services to this industry. “It seems like a good idea to appoint a coordinator for off-shore constructions and for obtaining the planning permits who would be helping to manage and coordinate the process” – he said.

Krzysztof Kubów, Deputy Minister of Energy, when asked about the role of such a coordinator has said that the Ministry of Energy is working on the legal environment. “We want the draft act to pass consultations soon. Should the coordinator be an entity or a person? It is an open question but such coordination is needed for all activities. By 2040, off-shore developments may cost even PLN 100 billion. Already this year we wish to contract energy from this year’s RES auctions to achieve the EU RES target for 2020” – he said.

Jerzy Kwieciński, Minister of Investment and Economic Development has said that to achieve up to 15 percent RES, we still need 3 percent more to reach the target and we have nearly 2 years for this. “It is a very short time. Off-shore may be by value the third biggest investment valued at PLN 100 billion after the Clean Air or the roads and highways construction programmes. This letter of intent will allow us to include off-shore in the strategic investments programmes, and thus in the Strategy for Responsible Development. If we wanted a plenipotentiary for off-shore for every idea there would be over 300 of them. I am not sure such a plenipotentiary is needed. We need time to possibly make this decision. If the business will be developing well, they may not be needed” – he said.

Dybowski: Orlen needs a government off-shore coordinator

Local content, Polish companies will help with off-shore

Bartłomiej Pawlak, Vice-president of the Polish Development Fund (PFR) has said that as PFR they ask the question of how to maximise the opportunities to boost the RES benefits. “Earlier on, many years ago, we did not demonstrate that in the RES the contribution by the Polish economy is important. A few years ago the Polish contribution was 17 percent and the Polish content was small, only the western companies were making profits. Now this is beginning to change. We want the Polish companies, thanks to our support, to make a Polish value chain. We are interested in supporting such companies” – he said.

Monika Morawiecka has added that it does not mean that only the Polish companies will be spending PLN 100 billion on this objective. “We are seeking partners who can build and manage so we can learn on mistakes of others and not our own. The collaboration between PGE and PKN Orlen is an internal collaboration that concerns knowledge and experience but not joint capital investments. Thanks to the support by foreign partners who already have the experience we may execute the investments that are already profitable and cost-effective faster and relatively cheaper than at a time in the west” – she said. Dybowski has said that thanks to this agreement we may generate savings in resources and time. “We need also the foreign collaboration so as to shorten the study processes and permits and optimise the costs” – he added.

Morawiecka: Off-shore is simply profitable

Minister Kwieciński asked about the plan for the maritime territories and the position of the Ministry of National Defence (MON) concerning providing access to part of the military zones for the off-shore wind farms has said that these are minor problems that always come up but can be overcome, while other problems are much bigger. Morawiecka has added in this aspect that the MON takes part in the process and participated in the consultations, and has itself asked to supplement the licence applications with the part on MON requirements. “A compromise can easily be reached. At the moment we do not need extra space on the sea. If we will be needing more of them, we will see. The zoning plan may be updated every 10 years” – she added.

Sawicki: Will off-shore fail as shale gas did some time ago?