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May 21, 2021

European Commission approves Polish offshore wind scheme

The European Commission has approved a scheme to support offshore wind farms in Poland.

By Umesh Ellichipuram

The European Commission has given approval to a scheme to support offshore wind farms in Poland.

The scheme was approved under EU State aid rules with the aim of helping Poland achieve its renewable energy targets.

The programme, due to run until 2030, has a total maximum budget of €22.5bn ($27.5bn).

European Commission executive vice-president in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “This Polish scheme is a very good example of how competition policy can enable [EU] member states to support green energy projects such as offshore wind farms.

“It gives the incentive to companies to invest in such green projects where they would otherwise not have invested.

“We hope that we will see many such initiatives in the future, which contribute to the EU’s Green Deal, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.”

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For 25 years, the aid will be granted in the form of a two-way contract-for-difference premium, but only up to 100,000 full load hours for each installed megawatt.

The variable premium will be the difference between the reference price and the market price for electricity.

If the market price is below the reference price, beneficiaries will be entitled to payments equal to the difference between the two prices.

If it is below the reference price, they will need to pay the difference between the two prices to the state.

In the scheme’s first phase, offshore projects will receive aid using the exception to the auction requirement, due to the fact that there are a very limited number of projects.

The project will obtain aid in the second phase through open and competitive auctions, which will be organised as of 2025. Projects’ reference prices will be set depending upon the respective bids.

In 2018, the European Commission approved the EU’s flagship tidal energy project, Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal (EnFAIT), to progress into its next stages of delivery.

Led by Scottish company Nova Innovation in collaboration with eight European partner organisations, the €20m project is based at Nova’s existing operational tidal power station in Bluemull Sound off the Shetland Islands.

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