The Polish government has prepared a proposal to modify the support scheme presented in Chapter 4 of the Act on renewable energy sources (“Act on RES”). Although the Act on RES entered into force on 4 May 2015, the entry into force of the support scheme was postponed until 1 July 2016. The government’s proposed changes to it were published on 6 May 2016. Some of the changes are presented below.

Firstly, changes have been made to definitions in the Act on RES. New definitions have been introduced: local biomass, small producer of energy (prosument in Polish), hybrid renewable energy source installation, and micro- and macro-clusters.  Micro- and macro-clusters were defined as civil arrangements (no specific legal form was kept) that concentrate entities such as individuals, legal persons, academic institutions, research and development units that act within a municipality or county. Such clusters will be promoted in, for example, an auction system.

The definition of a renewable energy source installation has been modified. A renewable energy source installation now means an isolated set of devices intended for the generation of energy and feed-in of capacity, where the energy or heat is produced from renewable energy sources, as well as an energy storage facility connected to this set of devices. Having a single connection point was the criterion to qualify for support, but this has been removed from the definition. The authors of the changes to the Act on RES claim that the proposed changes should remove uncertainties in the interpretation of the Act regarding the support scheme.

Secondly, the auction system has been modified. Separate auctions will be conducted for RES installations with installed capacity above 1 MW and those with capacity below 1 MW. Auctions will be divided into 6 technology baskets:

  • RES installations with efficiency higher than 3504 MWh / MW / year;
  • RES installations which generate energy from biodegradable fractions of industrial and municipal waste, plant and animal origin, including waste treatment plants and waste water treatment and sewage treatment, in particular sewage sludge;
  • RES installations in which CO2 emissions are less than 100 kg / MWh with efficiency higher than 3504 MWh / MW / year;
  • members of a micro-cluster;
  • members of a macro-cluster;
  • installations other than those mentioned above.

Stable and foreseeable energy-generating technologies will be promoted in auctions in order to provide a reliable energy mix. The first auction will be announced by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office in 2016. The support scheme’s 15-year term will commence the day following the day an energy producer wins an auction.

Smaller RES installations will not benefit from the feed-in-tariff system. According to the authors of the amendments, FIT prevents the development of smaller producers because it involves the generation of electricity for their own use without pursuing activity in the field of energy generation.  Instead of FIT, discounts for smaller producers are proposed, which involve settling the difference between the volume of energy delivered to the grid and the energy taken from the grid. Energy delivered to the grid not earlier than 365 days before the date of settlement is subject to the plan proposed under the amended Act on RES.

Some changes to the Energy Law Act have also been suggested. Apart from the obligations resulting from the current wording of the Energy Law Act, grid connection agreements must also indicate the term of delivery of energy to the grid, which cannot exceed 48 months, or 120 months in the case of off-shore. Failure to deliver energy may result in termination of the grid connection agreement.

Furthermore, there is a proposal to liquidate the SPV, Operator Rozliczeń Energii Odnawialnej S.A., which was created to collect and manage of the RES Fee and cover of the negative balance of obliged suppliers and energy producers. OREO’s tasks will be passed to Zarządca Rozliczeń S.A., which is acting under the act on the principles of compensating for generators’ costs arising in connection with the early termination of long-term contracts for the sale of capacity and electricity.

According to the justification of the amended Act on RES, the European Commission does not need to be notified of the changes. The amendments are planned to enter into force on 1 July 2016.