On 6 March 2018, the Council of Ministers adopted a bill of amendments to the Act of 20 February 2015 on Renewable Energy Sources (“RES Act”), the Act of 20 May 2016 on Investments in Wind Power Plants (“Distance Law”) and the Act of 7 July 1994 – the Building Law (“Building Law”). Legislative work on the planned amendment (“Planned Amendment”) will now continue in both chambers of the Polish Parliament (Sejm and the Senate). It is of note that the Planned Amendment was profusely modified during legislative work at the government level. The most essential amendments in the Planned Amendment proposed by the Council of Ministers are set out below, as compared with an earlier version of the bill published by the Minister of Energy on 20 February 2018:

Adjustments to certain definitions in the RES Act.

The wording of the Planned Amendment proposed by the Council of Ministers suggests several editorial modifications so as to clarify certain terms defined in the RES Act, such as, e.g., “renewable energy source plant”, “biomass” or “energy cooperative”.

Clarification of rules for calculating investment aid

The most recent version of the Planned Amendment features revisions to the formula used to calculate the total sum of an investment aid. Namely, according to the modified wording, the value of investment aid will be calculated on the basis of the investment aid assigned to a specific RES plant construction project, not a specific energy producer. The previous wording of this clause could have raised doubts as to whether an investment aid ought to be assessed exclusively on the basis of an aid earmarked to a specific plant or the total investment aid granted to the energy producer concerned.

Obligation to maintain agricultural biomass proportions

The Planned Amendment stipulates that the obligation to observe a minimum agricultural biomass content in the total mass of combusted biomass will only apply to multi-fuel combustion plants, dedicated multi-fuel combustion plants and dedicated biomass combustion plants. The minimum agricultural biomass content for the plant categories referred to above, provided they are commissioned after 1 January 2019, will be 10%.

Thermal Waste Processing Plants incorporated into the auction system structure

The Planned Amendment version published on 20 February 2018 did not provide for a separate auction basket in this category or the obligation to set a separate reference price for these plants. This has been revised in the current wording of the Planned Amendment approved by the Council of Ministers. Thermal waste processing plants were finally added to the first auction basket, along with plants using biomass, bioliquids and non-agricultural biogas. The proposed Planned Amendment also introduces the obligation to set a reference price for this plant category (equal to the reference price for dedicated multi-fuel combustion plants).

Auction procedures to be revised in 2018

In accordance with the Planned Amendment, in auctions announced, organized and held in 2018, producers must submit bids in hard copy or electronically via the public administration ePUAP platform, not via the Internet Auction Platform.

Modified volumes and values of electricity to be auctioned in 2018

The Planned Amendment adopted by the Council of Ministers introduces slight modifications as regards the maximum volume and value of electricity that may be auctioned in 2018:

  • For ‘migration auctions’ for plants with a capacity of 1 MW or less, the value of electricity allocated to the first auction was increased (from PLN 403,207,920 to PLN 512,588,160) and in the second auction basket (PLN 737,605,600 to PLN 767,716,880);
  • With respect to auctions regarding new plants with a capacity of 1 MW or less the maximum volume of energy that may be sold in the first auction basket has been decreased (from 14,700,000 MWh to 13,311,000 MWh);
  • Conversely, in the case of auctions regarding new installations with a capacity of 1 MW or more the maximum volume of energy that can be sold at an auction in the first basket has been increased (from 21,000,000 MWh to 57,699,309 MWh), whereas the volumes in the third auction basket have been reduced (from 7,020,000 MWh to 3,510,000 MWh).

Clarification of conditions subject to which wind farm building permits will continue in force

The Planned Amendment also introduces slight editorial changes clarifying the Distance Law. According to the current version of the Planned Amendment, building permits issued in respect of wind farms prior to the effective date of the Distance Law and those issued in the course of proceedings initiated and not completed by the effective date of the said act, will continue in force if in the 5 years of the effective date of the Distance Law (i.e. 16 July 2016), an occupancy permit is issued.