In accordance with a report by Ernst&Young concerning the impact of the offshore wind energy on the Polish economy the country is facing a unique opportunity. Reaching 6 GW in offshore wind in 2025 will entail PLN 73.8 billion value added for the Polish economy. Direct revenues of the public finance sector amount to PLN 14.9 billion, of which PLN 12.2 billion for the central budget and PLN 2.7 billion in tax revenues for local governments. Avoided emissions of approximately 40 million tonnes CO2 will bring approximately PLN 1.6 billion of savings. The report has been developed on commission of the Polish Wind Energy Association, which organises the annual Offshore Conference&Exhibition.
In accordance with the declarations made to the European Union, in 2020 the share of energy from renewable sources (RES) in gross final consumption in Poland is to reach 15%. In accordance with the National Renewable Energy Action Plan, offshore installed capacity in the year 2020 is to reach 500 MW.
- 'However, a target specified at such a level seems underestimated. Poland exhibits much higher potential in the area', said Wojciech Cetnarski, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association. 'Last year's amendments to the legislative framework (the Act on Maritime Areas and Maritime Administration) increased the interest of national and foreign investors in the development of offshore wind farm projects in the Polish Baltic areas. This is furthermore demonstrated by the number of issued location decisions. Establishment of advantageous investment conditions and a stable and predictable support scheme will attract foreign capital to Poland and directly contribute to the achievement of the EU environmental protection targets.'
The leading consultant, Ernst&Young, predicts in its report entitled "Offshore wind energy – analysis of benefits for the Polish economy and development determinants" that placement of orders in sectors related to the offshore wind energy will contribute to 31.8 thousand new jobs in the 2012 – 2025 period. The offshore sector may significantly contribute to the growth of the Polish labour market, in particular in the investment phase. The highest number of jobs may be created in the electro-engineering sector – approximately 5.1 thousand. It is forecasted that the maritime transport and shipbuilding and port industries – sectors substantially affected by the economic slowdown – may gain approximately 5 thousand new jobs. Following the example of the UK it is estimated that each MW under construction contributes to more than 17 jobs (full time equivalents); in the operation phase one MW creates approximately 0.5 – 1 FTE.
Offshore wind energy not only brings benefits from the produced electricity and thousands of new jobs, but also constitutes an opportunity to boost other industries – in particular shipbuilding, machine and electro-technical. The development of the offshore wind energy sector may bring profits to many Polish entrepreneurs - not only registered in coastal provinces. Polish companies that already "are winning" the market include: CRIST Shipyard – construction of dedicated offshore wind farm installation and maintenance vessels; GSG Towers – production of onshore and offshore towers; Polimex – Mostostal – manufacturer of structures for the offshore sector; Grupa Kapitałowa VISTAL – manufacturers of wind turbine towers and steel offshore structures. KSO, a consortium of Bilfinger, Crist and the Mars Fund is also planning to provide manufacturing services to the offshore sector. Recently the company acquired a building permit for the construction of an offshore structures manufacturing plant on the area of the Szczecin's Gryfia shipyard. A number of technologies used in the offshore wind energy sector are innovative, contributing to the rapid modernisation of production and construction facilities and the transfer of the latest technologies to Poland.
The dynamic growth of the offshore wind energy sector is expected to bring substantial decreases in unit electricity production costs. Offshore may become one of the most competitive RES techologies. In accordance with the data from the UK market, the cost of production of 1 MWh in offshore wind farms commissioned in 2011 is approximately 140 GBP (722 PLN). The UK experiences and analyses demonstrate that by 2020 the cost shall decrease by 29% in the 18 GW by 2020 scenario. In the case of Poland the decrease may be higher, for the country has better natural conditions for the construction of offshore wind farms.
Furthermore, the development of offshore wind farms in Poland to reach 6 GW of installed capacity in 2030 does not conflict with other energy targets set by the government. The offshore wind energy sector shall not be considered as a competition for shale gas extraction or continued use of the Polish wind resources, but as a "green" supplementation to the country's energy mix.
The Polish Wind Energy Association organises the second edition of the Offshore Conference&Exhibition (2-3 October 2013, Sopot). The Conference will discuss the latest issues related to the development of the offshore wind energy sector in Poland. This year's Conference will not only constitute a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences between companies involved in the sector's development in other countries, it will also present the Poland's industrial potential to the foreign partners. To learn more about this event please visit www.offshore2013.psew.pl