Poland’s ministry of state assets has published a much-anticipated draft of legislation to promote offshore wind power, aiming to award more than 10GW in the Baltic Sea by 2027, the Polish wind power association (PWEA) said.

“Time will come for a detailed analysis of the draft act. Today, on behalf of all companies who are already part of the supply chain for offshore wind, I would like to express my satisfaction with the publication of the bill,” PWEA president Janusz Gajowiecki said.

Up to 4.6GW from pre-developed wind projects could be granted support by Polish energy regulator ERO by the end of 2022 under a contract for difference (CfD) system with a fixed price set by the government.

Andrzej Kazmierski, director for renewable and distributed energy at the Polish ministry of energy, in late 2018 told Recharge that the complex legal situation for pre-developed offshore wind projects called for different treatment in regards to support than future projects to be developed from scratch.

The projects in an advanced stage of development that will be entitled to a CfD with a fixed price must fulfill certain criteria, such as a grid link permit and a valid environmental permit, PWEA told Recharge.

Projects that are likely to fulfill those criteria are two projects owned by private Polish utility Polenergia and Norway’s Equinor (Bałtyk II and III, which have a combined planned capacity of 1.44GW). The consortium also jointly owns the less developped Bałtyk 1 project with up to 1.56GW.

Two projects by Polish utility PGE (Elektrownia Wiatrowa Baltica 2&3 with a joint capacity of 2.5W) may also be in line for the first batch of projects receiving support. Denmark's Orsted is in advanced talks to buy half of the PGE projects.

A smaller, 350MW project (FEW Baltic 2) that German utility RWE in October bought from Baltic Trade and Invest, will also likely feature among the first batch of projects to receive support. RWE also owns three early stage projects, bringing its total Polish offshore wind pipeline to 1.5GW.

Less developed projects by refiner PKN Orlen via its Baltic Power unit may also still be considered for the initial support regime, if the company still manages to fulfil those criteria. The refiner holds a 1.2GW offshore wind concession area in the Baltic Sea.

As not all of the pre-developed projects are in the same advanced stages of development, it is not entirely clear whether the government will be able to award the full 4.6GW under the initial mechanism.

The remainder of the capacity is slated to be tendered-off in competitive CfD auctions of at least 500MW in 2023, and 2.5GW each in 2025 and 2027.

Support will be granted for 25 years, compared to only 15 years for other renewable technologies. First electricity must be generated seven years after a successful bid.

The government’s offshore wind plans according to PWEA could lead to the creation of about 34,000 jobs during the investment stage.

Job demand would come from both the energy sector and other industries, including construction, finance, transport and services.

PWEA also stressed that wind at sea will diminish the risk of future power shortages seen by Polish transmission system operator PSE and the country’s energy regulatory office.

“The development of offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea will significantly contribute to minimising the risk of capacity shortages,” Gajowiecki said.

“At the same time, the introduction of this large-scale, zero-carbon and increasingly cost-effective RES technology to our energy mix will help in the transition of the Polish economy.”

The offshore act proposal will now be in public consultation for 30 days, and then go for approval to the Polish cabinet and parliament.

UPDATED to add detail of legislation and advanced projects