Proposed amendments to the RES Act

Proposed amendments will extend the duration of support schemes for RES installations in Poland.

The Polish Council of Ministers has submitted a draft amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act and certain other acts (“Draft”) to the Polish Parliament, through which the Draft will now proceed.

According to information published by the Council of Ministers, one of the aims of the Draft is to extend the current RES support schemes. The auction system, which is the primary support scheme for large wind and photovoltaic installations, will be automatically extended from 30 June 2021 until 31 December 2021.

The feed-in tariff (FIT) and feed-in premium (FIP) programmes – both applicable only to biogas, biomass and hydropower installations based on their installed capacity – will also be automatically extended until 30 June 2024. The FIT scheme ensures the right to sell electricity for a fixed price for producers of energy in installations with an installed capacity greater than 500 kW and less than 2.5 MW (1 MW in case of biomass). On the other hand, the feed-in premium system grants the right to cover a part of the negative balance equal to the difference between the reference price announced for a given type of installation and the average price of electricity. It applies to installations with an installed capacity no greater than 500 kW.

It will be possible to further extend these support schemes (i.e., auctions, FIP and FIT) until 31 December 2027. This will require notifying the European Commission and obtaining a positive opinion on the compliance of State aid with the internal market rules.

On 16 April 2021, the Minister of Climate and the Environment adopted a regulation establishing the reference prices for energy sold in auctions in 2021. For energy generated in large (> 1 MW) onshore installations, the price is PLN 250 (~EUR 55) / MWh, which is equal to the price set for 2020. Energy generated in large (> 1 MW) PV installations is priced at PLN 320 (~EUR 70) / MWh, which is slightly lower than PLN 340 (~EUR 75) / MWh set for 2020.

Furthermore, the Draft will confirm the current practice of the President of the Energy Regulatory Office regarding how the total installed capacity of RES installations should be determined, namely, by using the information provided on the rating plate or, in its absence, ascertained by an entity accredited by the Polish Centre for Accreditation.

The Draft also expands the definition of small installations by increasing the upper threshold for their total installed capacity from 500 kW to 1 MW (and from 900 kW to 3 MW in case of cogeneration installations). As a rule, small installations operate without a generation concession. Therefore, the change of definition of small installations means that more operators will be exempt from the obligation to obtain a generation licence. The Draft also aims to prolong the periods of operational support (in FIT and FIP schemes) for small (< 1 MW) hydropower and biogas installations that have participated in the “green certificate” programme for at least 5 years. This will reduce the risk that these installations will cease operation due to lack of support.

The amended Renewable Energy Sources Act will likely be adopted later this year.

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