Poland’s energy regulatory office has confirmed 5 December 2019 as the date for a 2.5GW onshore wind and solar tender for new installations above 1MW, the country’s wind energy association PWEA has said.

PWEA is confident that the volume will be won primarily by wind power projects as most planned PV projects are smaller than 1MW.

“Poland has returned to the path of growth in renewables after three years of stagnation. This is mainly necessary to reach our 15% renewable energy goal in 2020,” PWEA chief executive Janusz Gajowiecki told Recharge.

“Another 2.5GW from wind turbines from an auction planned for 5 December - together with over 1GW capacity from last year’s auction - will bring the total capacity of installed wind energy to almost 10GW.”

Gajowiecki said the increase in capacity will help Poland meet its international obligations, and will also significantly contribute to maintaining the competitiveness of the Polish economy, where wholesale energy prices have risen sharply as a result of price increases in carbon markets.

But he added Poland has one of the largest wind potentials across Europe and could do more. Especially if the so-called 10H rule, which stipulates that no turbines can be erected within a distance equal to ten times its blade-tip height from a neighbouring property.

“We assess that we are realising the low scenario for wind energy in Poland. In a high scenario we could reach 24GW of total wind capacity, but that would require a change to the 10H rule.”

The government in a late last year surprise move carried out a highly-successful 1GW onshore wind tender for projects that already had a permit in place before a damaging 10H distance rule took roots.

Parliament after that this summer approved a revision of the country’s renewables legislation, paving the way for this year’s 2.5GW auction for remaining projects that had been approved before the distance rule kicked in.

The amendment to the renewables act did not include a scrapping of the distance rule, though.

PWEA has warned that 1GW in the next wind and solar auctions for installations above 1MW planned for 2020 could go almost entirely to PV as – assuming wind will win most of this year’s 2.5GW tendering volume – nearly all projects approved before the 10H rule kicked in will already have been used up in this year’s tender.

Distance rules, once established, seem to be difficult to remove. A similar distance rule of 10 times the tip height between wind farms and settlements in Germany’s largest state by territory, Bavaria, remains in place even after the country’s government as part of a climate package in principle wants to reduce impediments to the wind expansion.