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Onshore wind out in cold as Poland eyes offshore and nuclear

Warsaw plans to add 10GW of offshore wind by 2040 and up to 9GW of nuclear, but onshore snub branded 'crazy'

Poland’s energy ministry has presented the draft of its energy strategy through to 2040 that foresees a slow phase-out of coal amid a massive build-up of offshore wind and nuclear power – but no significant new onshore wind.

Warsaw plans to have first arrays in the Baltic Sea feeding into the Polish grid after 2025 and to install 10GW in offshore wind by 2040, as well as to build its first nuclear reactors to reach a capacity of 6-9GW by 2043.

In the process, the country would lessen its dependency on coal and lignite somewhat, pushing its share in power consumption down to 60% by 2030 from 80% now.

But to the dismay of the wind sector, the energy plan doesn’t include a role for onshore wind, the capacity of which would fall from an expected 7GW in 2025 to just 800MW in 2040, WindEurope said.

“This is really disappointing on onshore wind. And it makes no sense economically. You expand your power capacity but you don’t use the cheapest form of new power generation?” WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson said.

“It’s crazy, not least when the country has just run its first onshore wind auction and got extremely competitive prices.”

Poland last week announced an average price of PLN196 ($51.97) per megawatt hour for winning bids in an about 1GW first onshore wind tender for projects with an old, valid permit. In that auction, only 55% of the budget allocated by the government was used up, leaving room for another auction for about 850MW in capacity next year.

Innogy, E.ON win with onshore wind projects in Polish tender

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The wind industry had hoped the successful auction result might sway the government to lessen its hostility towards wind on land and end a harmful distance rule that has killed off the development of new projects.

Warsaw presented its energy strategy just before the UN climate negotiations in Katowice next month, and in the plan cites EU stipulations to reach a 32% share of renewables in final energy consumption by 2030 as one of the reasons to expand its own renewable generation base.

But the document that puts a great emphasis on security of supply and on lessening the country’s energy dependence from “the Eastern direction,” also stresses the importance of coal as domestic energy source.

“They announce this just one week before they host the annual UN climate negotiations (COP24) in Katowice – it sends all the wrong signals. Poland really needs to go back to the drawing board with this one,” Dickson said.

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