Poland’s premier event for business and policy leaders, the Krynica Economic Forum, addressed the prospects for the development of offshore wind in the Baltic, with WindEurope highlighting the benefits.
Officials from WindEurope spoke at the event, with Michael Simmelsgaard, head of offshore wind at Vattenfall, and Zbigniew Gryglas, chair the offshore wind committee in Polish Parliament, as well as representatives of the Lithuanian and Polish transmission system operators (TSOs).
All insisted on the strong fundamentals that will drive the deployment of offshore wind in the Baltic. With its strong and steady winds, relatively shallow waters and less extreme sea conditions, the Baltic is expected to be the second European offshore wind basin, with 9 GW of offshore wind in 2030.
Mr Simmelsgaard underscored the dramatic reduction in technology costs in recent years and stressed the importance of having an efficient supply chain as a key to making competitive bids in offshore wind auctions. The offshore market is only a fraction of what it will be in just a few years’ time and Poland’s existing supply chain (already producing cables, steel towers and offshore substructures for neighbouring markets) stands to benefit greatly.
WindEurope chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu noted that the industry was very encouraged by the Polish TSO’s announcement earlier this year that, by 2026, the grid would be able to accommodate 4 GW of offshore wind. He noted that European countries were due to finalise national energy and climate plans to 2030 by the end of the year and that the run-up to COP 24 in Katowice would be the ideal moment to commit to offshore wind volumes in Poland.
Mr Gryglas concluded the discussion by insisting Poland could beat expectations and deploy 6 GW of offshore wind by 2030, overshooting WindEurope’s central scenario (3.2 GW). He noted that Poland’s rising energy demand required investments in power generation and stressed the job creation and energy security potential of deploying offshore wind.
Opportunities for offshore wind in Poland will be discussed on day four of the WindEurope 2018 Conference, part of the Global Wind Summit in Hamburg later this month. As WindEurope noted, for about 15 recent years Poland has been moving from the era of fossil fuel based energy towards an increasingly decarbonised supply. Onshore wind energy has been the key technology which enabled the ongoing transformation.
In the view of growing requirement for renewable energy, Poland needs to reach for new ‘green’ energy resources and offshore wind seems to be the answer. Currently, a total of over 2 GW of installed capacity in the Baltic Sea is being developed by the state-owned PGE as well as by the Polish-Norwegian consortium of Polenergia-Equinor.
The establishment of the Parliamentary Committee for Development of Offshore Wind has triggered off even more interest – the state-owned fuel concern PKN ORLEN already has ‘an offshore site’ in the Polish Exclusive Economic Zone.
All state utilities, Enea, Energa and Tauron, plan to apply for permits to develop offshore projects. Private-equity foreign players show no less interest. WindEurope said this has been particularly visible during the recent consultations of the zoning plan for the Polish marine areas which will determine the conditions for offshore wind development for the next decade, especially in terms of the potential for new capacity.