A short draft amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act of 20 February 2015 (“RES Act”) has just been published by the Polish Parliament. The bill aims at postponing by 6 months the change of the support scheme for renewable energy sources from green certificates to the auction based support. The change is scheduled to enter in force on 31 December 2015.

1) Purpose of the amendment

The main reasons given for proposing the bill are:

  • The need for additional impact assessments and introducing instruments preventing the alleged risk of insolvency of existing agricultural bio-gas installations and promoting their further development;
  • The preparation of the necessary regulations on the location and construction of onshore wind farms;
  • Providing an additional 6 month window for finishing ongoing investment projects, which for reasons independent of the investors could not be completed by the end of 2015;
  • Granting additional time required by the Minister of Energy to prepare a so called technical amendment to the RES Act necessary to clarify ambiguities in the wording of this law.

Two more Parliament sessions are planned for 21-22 December and 29-30 December 2015 making it technically possible to complete the legislative procedure still this year. The amendment act would have to be published in the Official Journal of Laws by 31 December 2015 for it to enter into force as planned.

2) Consequences

Postponing the entry into force of the auction scheme as proposed in the bill would actually allow projects, which will be ready to start generating power between 1 January and 30 June 2016 to still become eligible for support in the form of green certificates.

The planned change would affect the pending modifications of the green certificates scheme applying to existing installations, aimed at adjusting the supply and demand for certificates on the market. The bill is also missing a clear extension until 30 June 2016 of current provisions securing the demand in green certificates and offtake of electricity generated in renewable sources at the price published by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office.

It remains an open question what impact this change may have on the pending decision of the European Commission regarding the current support scheme, as recently reported by the media.

It is also unclear how this amendment will impact the current schedule of auctions in a new support system, while in the current form the first auction should still take place in 2016.