The draft of amendments to the Act on renewable energy sources

The draft of amendments to the Act on renewable energy sources

The draft of amendments to the  Act on renewable energy sources and some other acts  has been published on the website of Government Legislation Centre.  The draft amendment prepared by the Ministry of Climate is currently at the stage of public consultations.

The most important amendments include:

Limiting the license obligations for those entrepreneurs who conduct business activity in the field of small installations

The draft of amendments provides for a change in the definition of a small installation by increasing the threshold of the total installed electrical capacity (from 500 kW to 1 MW) or combined heat output (from 900 kW to 3 MW) for a renewable energy source (RES) installation, exceeding which would require producers to obtain proper licences. Any business activity consisting in generating electricity in a small installation will still need to be entered in the register of small installation energy producers. As indicated in the grounds to the draft, on the one hand the amendment will reduce obligations for those entities that want to generate energy in small installations, and on the other it will result in transferring “ex officio” to the register of small installation energy producers those entrepreneurs who hold a licence and whose installations meet the conditions specified for a small installation.

Extension of the support system term

Another area of amendments is the extension of the maximum period of:

  • the “discount” settlement mechanism under the prosumer system;
  • obligation to purchase the electricity unused by RES micro-installations operating outside the prosumer system;
  • the obligation to purchase unused electricity at a fixed price or the right to a surcharge to the electricity market price under the FIT (feed-in-tariff) and FIP (feet-in-premium) schemes;
  • the obligation to purchase electricity at a fixed price or the right to a surcharge to the market price of electricity under the auction system
  • until 30 June 2045

At the same time, the maximum time limit for granting public aid under the auction system as well as the FIT and FIP schemes is extended by 5 years until 30 June 2026.

Changes regarding spatial planning

According to the proposed version of Art. 10.2a of the Spatial Planning and Development Act, if within a municipality areas are to be designated for installing devices generating energy from renewable energy sources with an installed capacity of more than 500 kW, as well as their protection zones related to restrictions in land development, management and use , the proper study shall specify their arrangement, with the exception of:

  • free-standing photovoltaic devices with an installed electrical capacity of not more than 1000 kW;
  • photovoltaic devices other than free-standing.

The proposed amends meet the demands signalled by entrepreneurs. In its present form, the provision of Art. 10.2a imposes an obligation to take into account in the study the conditions and directions of spatial development of a given municipality, and thus in local spatial development plans producing energy from renewable energy sources with a capacity exceeding 100 kW. As emphasized in the grounds of the draft, the procedures for changing the study and spatial development plans are long and costly, which significantly protracts the investment process. Bearing in mind the above, the possibility of raising the 100 kW limit for selected installations using renewable energy sources has been proposed, which will not have negative consequences for planning and spatial development in Poland.

Statutory confirmation of the method of determining the total installed capacity of RES installations

One of the amendments introduced by the draft is that the method of determining the total installed capacity of RES installations should be provided for in binding law. So far, the interpretation of this concept has resulted from the position of the President of the Energy Regulatory Office. The proposed┬á amendments provides that the installed electric power of the renewable energy source installation – the total active rated power is understood as:

  • in the case of a renewable energy source installation which uses biogas or agricultural biogas to generate electricity: the power stated on the rating plate by the supplier or manufacturer of a set of devices used to generate electricity ÔÇô a generating set, and in the absence of a rating plate, the rated active power of this set specified by a facility accredited by the Polish Centre for Accreditation;
  • in the case of an installation other than that indicated above: the power specified by the manufacturer on the rating plate of the generator, photovoltaic module or fuel cell.