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Poland sets dates for 2019 renewable power auctions

Poland's energy regulatory office unveiled plans for a series of new renewable energy auctions, to be held across various dates in November and December this year.

The country will conduct an auction for onshore wind power on Dec. 5 as part of a plan to build 2.5 GW of onshore wind capacity. The auction will apply to new installations with a capacity of over 1 MW, with a separate tender being run on Dec. 10 for wind farms under 1 MW.

Similarly, offshore wind auctions will take place on Dec. 9 for projects under 1 MW, followed by an auction for installations above that threshold on Dec. 12.

Biogas installations, both new and existing, will also be eligible for auction support, the energy regulatory office said, with tenders taking place Nov. 25-26.

Further renewables auctions are planned for 2020 and the Polish Wind Energy Association, or PWEA, is recommending the government almost quadruples the volume from 14.7 TWh to almost 58.3 TWh, while also increasing the overall budget from almost 5.36 billion to 21.36 billion Polish zlotys.

Wind growth

Poland held elections earlier this month, which saw the incumbent Law and Justice Party retain power. Historically, the party has been opposed to onshore wind, introducing distance and height regulations that have hampered growth.

The so-called 10H rule says new development can only happen in zones that are 10 times the height of the turbine away from the nearest home. Only onshore wind projects that had already applied for a construction permit by July 2016, when the distance regulation was introduced, are now being developed in Poland.

But PWEA told S&P Global Market Intelligence that it believes the attitude toward onshore wind will change "because the technology is gaining grid parity and is at this moment the most cost effective among all regarding new installations."

"Although before [the] elections the authorities said that they were not working on changing 10h rule, there had been comments that in the future they could revise [or] liberalize it, giving more power to decide to local authorities," the organization said in an Oct. 16 email.

While Poland's wind fleet is relatively young, PWEA argued that without changing 10H rule, the potential of existing infrastructure would fade "because [the] 10H rule won't allow [the repowering of] existing capacities."

As of Oct. 21, US$1 was equivalent to 3.84 Polish zlotys.