Warsaw, 10th August 2020
Opinion of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers regarding the presented proposals for regulatory changes in the field of development of renewable sources in Poland
We would like to begin with emphasis on the immediate need to adapt legislation in this area both to the European climate neutrality policy and to the situation the energy sector related to the pandemic.
We consider all actions aimed at increasing the supply of green energy to be appropriate and necessary – not only in connection with EU obligations, but also due to the needs of Polish industry.
In this regard, we assess the proposed changes very positively. The document presented by the Ministry of Climate concerning the amendment of the ‘act on renewable energy sources and certain other acts’ approaches the issues related to the development of this sector of energy in a comprehensive and coherent manner, changing the provisions in the entire scope related to the investment and operational process of renewable energy sources in the future. The authors of the draft noticed the need for changes not only in the Renewable Sources Act, but also in the Energy Law and the Spatial Development Act. Only this approach creates proper foundations for the development of distributed energy.
The proposed changes may have a decisive impact on the development of widely understood distributed energy, as their scope covers small and medium-sized enterprises, i.e. the most dynamic sector of the Polish economy. The act increases the power parity for entrepreneurs with regard to their own renewable installations.
A rapid increase in investment opportunities in the field of renewable installations by clearly defining the concept of “small RES installation” gives the SME sector an opportunity to boost competitiveness as well as a certain energy independence, so needed in rural areas in particular.
The selection of the size of such an installation in the range of 50–500 kW should also be considered quite apt, as this is the range of averaged power consumption in the sector of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as medium-sized farms. In the project, we did not find a description of a small installation on a farm, henceforth we ask: do the figures shown above also apply to farms?
The proposed changes are aimed at creating a predictable framework for the development of the renewable sector, extending by law the support systems for individual technologies by 5 years. At the same time, the act emphasises the function of the auction system as a guarantor for financing institutions, recognising this support system as the cheapest and the most effective in Polish economic conditions.
The act also mitigates the problems of investors who, due to the pandemic, will exceed the maximum time limit for producing or selling electricity for the first time. It is also a very good decision, all the more so, as it minimises the bureaucratic process, without too much involvement of the Energy Regulatory Office. The form of declarations when submitting applications for extending the deadline is very accurate in this case.
We fully support the form of reducing bureaucracy in the entire registration process of energy producers from RES proposed in the Act, and thus reducing administrative burdens for the Energy Regulatory Office.
Amendments to the Spatial Planning Act, enabling in practice the rapid development of photovoltaics, constitute another much anticipated initiative, as a result of which, within a few years, there may be a significant increase in the supply of green energy and the stabilisation of the ends of transmission lines.
We are convinced that the entry into force of the act in the proposed form will stimulate the development of renewable energy sources, which must in turn stabilise energy prices for end users. The proposed amendments certainly meet the social demand, securing important solutions for energy producers from RES and for the industry related to investments in RES in its entirety.
However, some controversy is raised by the proposed form of regulation regarding the definition of installed capacity. Although a certain compromise has been reached here with circles in the RES community, which can be considered rational and promising for the development of RES in Poland, we suggest that the definition be refined in the future in such a way that it allows for some flexibility in extracting power from RES installations, especially when modernising such installations.
When assessing positively the proposed legislative changes regarding renewable energy sources, we would like to remind all parties involved that there is an urgent need for further work in this direction.
Unblocking investment opportunities in onshore wind energy by amending the provisions of the so-called “distance act” is the most important legislative task for the legislator today. We would like to remind them once again that onshore wind energy nowadays is the cheapest source of electricity, the development of which has been impeded by the provisions of the act.
Rapid adoption of all legislative acts enabling investments in offshore wind energy is yet another urgent need, because such investments will stabilise the country’s entire energy system.
We also like to remind everyone interested of the need for rapid legislative work in the area of grids and connections allowing for the development of distributed energy.
Fot. Appolinary Kalashnikova / Unsplash.com