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Finally? A Signal that Maybe Reality Matters, Even in Poland

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The Polish Minister of Energy has finally started talking about a compromise between renewable energy and coal.    The driver is apparently the new public concerns over air pollution, which has got to the point where some days you cannot exercise outside in Poland.

There is finally some talk of a transition from predominantly coal supplied electricity. But the government still does not discuss in real terms the economic and technological changes occurring in the energy market. The cost of coal - not even considering the external costs - is getting to be more expensive than RES technologies as the latter are rapidly going down.


The additional cost trend in energy storage is also not fully appreciated in Poland. 


Critical thinking requires that energy projects be considered over their projected useful life, not just at today's prices. Private investors think in this manner, but many governments do not. The Polish distrust of business runs deep in the culture despite the conversion …

Dramatic Changes in Costs Shifting the Debate on Renewable Energy

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The standard refrain from opponents of renewable energy is that it is expensive and too variable for a stable grid. These arguments have always been exaggerated, so several European countries have high RES penetration without serious problems. But now the arguments against RES have an obviously expiring shelve life. They have simply been out-paced by technological and economic developments.

    The latest news comes from a new January 2018 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).  Their conclusions:

Renewable power generation costs continue to fall and are already very competitive to meet needs for new capacity.Competitive procurement – including auctions – accounts for a small fraction of global renewable energy deployment. Yet these mechanisms are very rapidly driving down costs in new markets..Global competition is helping to spread the best project development practices, reducing technology and project risk and making renewables more cost-competitive than e…

Renewable Energy in Poland Slowed Down by Auction Mechanism

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When Poland announced the cut-off of green certificates for new installations and the plans to move to auctions, I predicted that there would be a major gap in development of renewable energy sources. The problem is that the auction has to provide a lengthy window for facilities to actually start producing electricity. Cutting off new certificates along with their market demise meant that there would not be actual new production coming on line in the transition period. This situation has occurred now and new RES is only a trickle into the grid.
This will not be alleviated by the existing system of certificates, since the huge over-supply can be used to meet the RES quotas. So Polish electricity producers can meet the RES requirement by stockpiled certificates without any new actual green electricity production. This is fine for the immediate legal environment, i.e. they can be in compliance with the law. 
But Poland has a national target for RES for 2020 that cannot be meet by stockp…

New Financial Support for Biogas in Poland [expanded version]

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Randy M. Mott JD, vice president Polish Biogas Association, President of Central and Eastern Europe Renewable Energy Solutions (CEERES)[1]
     The European Commission finally approved the new amendment and total Polish RES support package.SA.43697 Polish support scheme for RES and relief for energy-intensive users (December 13, 2017).The decision frees the way for new auctions in 2018 and likely running into 2021 and maybe beyond.
     The Energy Regulatory Agency has announced a new agricultural biogas[2] auction reference price of 570 PLN/MWh which is the highest yet proposed in Poland.
     From the "High Voltage" newsletter in Poland: 
"The most, nearly 18 billion zlotys, or almost half of the entire budget approved by Brussels, may be absorbed by - planned by the government - increase in production in biogas installations from the current 1 TWh per year to 4 TWh in 2020. At the same time, achieving this goal in such a short time seems to be impossible, but most lik…

Biogas in Poland Gets Huge Boost

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The European Commission finally approved the new amendment and total Polish RES support package.SA.43697 Polish support scheme for RES and relief for energy-intensive users (December 13, 2017). The decision frees the way for new auctions in 2018 and likely running into 2021 and maybe beyond.

The Energy Regulatory Agency has announced a new agricultural biogas auction reference price of 570 PLN/MWHr which is the highest yet proposed in Poland.

From the "High Voltage" newsletter in Poland: 

"The most, nearly 18 billion zlotys, or almost half of the entire budget approved by Brussels, may be absorbed by - planned by the government - increase in production in biogas installations from the current 1 TWh per year to 4 TWh in 2020. At the same time, achieving this goal in such a short time seems to be impossible, but most likely by 2020 the government will at least contract a comparable volume in installations that will be built at the beginning of the next decade."

The one r…

Energy Storage Costs Will be Bankable by 2020

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From a recent study:

"Relying on arbitrage or peak-shaving alone does not make for a convincing business case.
Pressure from government regulations may also have an effect on the numbers. Official targets to increase energy storage capacity, such as those announced just this month in New York, put pressure on even more utilities to develop their own energy storage solutions. We still have to wait for technology costs to fall enough to make energy storage projects bankable on their own. Current estimates think battery energy storage technology could be competitive as early as 2020. Until we reach that point, developers must continue finding innovative ways to combine energy storage with other applications or seek out value stacking opportunities to better make their business case."
Much if the issue revolves around where the income for energy storage comes from. The case of doing energy storage is strong right now, but most regulatory schemes do not provide sufficient economic i…

Polish Auctions Will Only Occur Under Better Conditions

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The combination of the European Commission and the Energy Regulatory Agency in Poland is delaying new RES auctions.

The need to have procedures approved by the EU has been a constant source of friction in Warsaw. This is unlikely to abate until an agreement is reached. Until then, the URE dispute with the Ministry of Energy looks like it will create a wall of confusion over future auctions.

The Polish Government has conceded that RES support is state aid and as such it must be approved by the DG Competition in Brussels. That is a given, but has been handled carelessly from the beginning with PO and now the new government.

When auctions proceed with EU approval, I expect the conditions to be better. In the interim, RES is frozen in Poland.