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Pathfinder Clean Energy Poland: 100MWp solar project on the way

The international clean energy developer and investor Pathfinder Clean Energy (PACE) has established PACE Poland to support the country’s clean energy transition and to deploy a 100 megawatts-peak (MWp) pipeline of solar.

In the last year, PACE has made a detailed market and technical analysis in Poland and decided to run its first 100 MWp project in the country. Timing is perfect as the Polish Government has just published its Energy Policy to 2040, which aims to see a reduction in coal (56 per cent by 2030 and a total of 72 per cent by 2040) and an increase in renewables, where the photovoltaic capacity is targeted to increase from 3.6 gigawatts (GW) to 5-7 GW by 2030 and with 20 GW by 2040.

“Over the last 18 months, we have worked to digitise the constraints in the country to enable our team to evaluate opportunities quickly and identify the first 100 MW of potential projects that is our core minimum threshold for any new market. This hurdle has now been reached,” said Alex Ross, Development Director of PACE. “Poland’s development process does have its challenges with certain grid confirmations coming later in the process but given the Government’s policy commitment to renewables and its 2030 targets, this is the right time for PACE to bring its expertise for the long term.”

According to PACE, the first phase of the project will connect to the high voltage grid lines with the Enea and Energa Grid Operators in the North of Poland in 2022.

“We consider Poland as a core market for growth as the country reduces its reliance on coal generation and renewables becomes increasingly competitive,” explained Rob Denman, Managing Director of PACE. “Required power generation in Poland is estimated at 244 terawatts-hour (TWh) in 2050 to keep up with the expected consumption growth, driven by industry, households and transportation demand. This trend coupled with lower supply from conventional sources due to expected hard coal/lignite decommissioning is expected to create space for new clean energy capacity. This market also benefits from EU policy and Polish regulatory framework support.”

In Poland, after the COVID-19 crisis, it is expected to reach a 49 per cent increase in power demand from 2022 until 2050. Since 2016 there has been an auction system as well for Contracts for Difference (CfD) which was successfully implemented and there is also increasing interest in corporate Power Purchase Agreements. The development of renewables is one of the keys to achieve the goals in the Polish Energy Policy 2040 and in the National Plan for Energy and Climate. With solar-generated electricity, the summer peak demands can be covered and a further 20 GW solar capacity is planned to be installed over the next 20 years.

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