Poland – Legislative changes as a recipe for renewable energy grid connection problems

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published on 12th October 2023

This year's summer is a time of important legislative changes, the common goal of which is to enable the further development of renewable energy in Poland regardless of the related grid issues. These changes should enable installation of additional gigawatts of renewable energy in Poland.


Status quo

Poland continues to be one of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in Europe. In addition to the programme aimed at incentivising offshore wind farms and biogas plants, photovoltaics continues to be the main driver of this growth. 

 In 2022, Poland again ranked second behind Germany in terms of the increase in installed solar power capacity in the European Union. At the same time, it was the only country in Central and Eastern Europe among the six leading countries in the European Union in terms of total installed photovoltaic capacity. The structure of the solar power sector is no longer dominated by micro power plants – now large-scale photovoltaic power plants with capacity of up to several hundred megawatts are becoming increasingly popular. The shape of the market is also changing: more and more stable companies are entering the market, and large state-owned corporations are also beginning to play a very active role.

This relatively optimistic picture of the development of the Polish renewable energy sector is disturbed by grid connection problems. According to the statistics of the energy regulator, the number of refusals to issue connection permits is increasing by leaps and bounds every year, and operators are not fully implementing their grid investment plans. So while the development of the renewable energy sector is impressive at the moment, it seems to be running out of steam in the long run.

Legislative Changes – Cable Pooling, Direct Line and Other

By introducing legislative changes, the government wants to reverse the negative trend of renewable energy investment declining due to the lack of grid connection capacities. 

One change that is very much welcomed by the renewable energy sector is the creation of the legal framework for the so-called cable pooling. Cable pooling is the joint use of multiple renewable energy systems at the same connection node with a total capacity that is greater than the connection capacity. For example, wind farms and solar power plants that are close to each other can be connected to the grid at a single connection point. According to some estimates, cable pooling will soon make it possible to build wind and solar power plants in Poland with a total capacity of 5 to 7 GW.

Another important change to be introduced is the liberalisation of the regulations regarding the construction of direct lines. The new regulations will allow renewable power plants to be connected outside the national grid and deliver energy directly to end consumers. The introduction of facilitations for the construction of direct lines is thus an opportunity for developing renewable energy regardless of the connection capacity in the public grid. Importantly, the new regulations also allow consumers to resell the energy delivered through a direct line, which goes hand in hand with the increasing trend in the Polish market to involve energy consumers as participants in the energy market.

The above-mentioned changes are not the only instruments that the Polish legislator intends to introduce to promote the development of renewable energies. Investors can continue to count on incentive systems that ensure stabilisation of the economic environment for the sale of energy. In this context, a new incentive system is envisaged for biomethane production. Another important event is the extension of the incentive for offshore wind farms – the newly introduced regulations have extended the incentive from 5 GW to 12 GW offshore wind farm installations. Of course, auctions to promote other renewable energy sources will continue to be organised – this year they will take place between 13th and 22nd November. Interestingly, the biggest auction session is to be held with respect to the budget for biogas plants. A volume of 45 TWh with a maximum value of over EUR 5.54 billion is earmarked for installations with a capacity of over 1 MW, and in this respect it is the largest of the planned auctions.

Outlook for the future

The changes discussed in this article are a legislative response to important demands of the Polish renewable energy industry and provide an opportunity for investors. The amendment of the regulations should enable the addition of further gigawatts to the energy system regardless of grid problems.  At the same time, these changes show that the Polish government – despite announcements in the media to strengthen the role of nuclear energy – is not giving up on the consistent expansion of renewable energies. This trend is not likely to change also in view of the parliamentary elections in October. 




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