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PKN ORLEN teams up with Canadian Northland Power for offshore wind project in the Baltic Sea

Poland’s state-run oil refiner PKN ORLEN selected Canadian Northland Power as a strategic partner to jointly develop a 1.2 gigawatts (GW) offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea.

Northland Power, ranked among the world’s top 10 companies active in offshore wind, will ultimately acquire a 49 per cent interest in the project, due to start in 2023 and scheduled for commissioning in 2026.

“By combining our local experience […] with the global offshore wind expertise of Northland Power, we will be well placed to quickly and effectively deliver subsequent stages of the project,” said Daniel Obajtek, CEO and President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board adding that the cooperation will also provide a major growth stimulus for the offshore industry, including Polish companies along the supply chain.

The strategic partnership involves the preparation, development and operation of an offshore wind farm with a total target capacity of up to 1.2 GW, which intends to apply for the 25-year Contract for Difference support scheme. The joint venture agreement was signed between PKN ORLEN’s Baltic Power company and Northland Power’s unit registered in Amsterdam. By joining the project, the Canadian group will ultimately acquire a 49 per cent equity interest, following a series of capital increases at Baltic Power. Based on the agreement Northland Power will invest around 290 million zloties (64.25 million euros) in Baltic Power in 2021.

“We are excited to partner with PKN ORLEN to expand our presence in Europe through the development of the Baltic Power offshore wind project, but more importantly, further contribute to the global decarbonisation transition by helping Poland fulfil its renewable energy ambitions,” said Mike Crawley, President and CEO of Northland Power.

In its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) Poland singled out offshore wind as a key technology with ambitious targets. By 2030 Poland aims to have installed 3.8 GW and then 10 GW by 2040 and 28 GW by 2050. This would make Poland the biggest market for offshore wind in the Baltic. Their first offshore turbines could be operating by 2025.

Another historic milestone was that adoption of Poland’s first Offshore Wind Act in January. The Act is based, among other pillars, on a two-phase support system, improvements in administrative procedures and rules for connecting producers to the power grid paving the way for offshore wind development in the Baltic Sea.

As Europe looks towards reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 the Baltic Sea has become an attractive region as it has incredible potential for offshore wind in Europe, and could host up to 93 GW by 2050, up from 2.2 GW today.

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