THE AMENDMENT TO THE RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (RES)

On October 1, 2023, an amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act came into force, aiming to implement part of the RED II directive into the Polish legal system. The new regulations will accelerate the development of renewable energy sources (RES), energy clusters, and introduce cable pooling, which is the connection of at least two renewable energy sources to the same connection point.

The amendment allows for the sharing of connection infrastructure by beneficiaries of the auction support system and FIT/FIP systems, provided that the electricity producer in the installation planned for connection does not use, nor will use, any mechanism supporting the generation of energy from RES.

The main objective of the amendment is to accelerate the development of the renewable energy sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union. The amendment imposes requirements to increase the share of energy from RES in total energy production and introduces regulations concerning the increase in the share of alternative fuels in the overall fuel consumption.

The project partially introduces into Polish law solutions concerning the energy market, heating, and cooling. It also contains solutions for offshore wind, biomethane, energy clusters, operational support for RES and hybrid installations. It introduces the definition of biomethane, a register of biogas producers, eliminates support for biogas in the form of origin certificates, and establishes operational support for biomethane, added to the catalog of gaseous fuels. The amendment’s provisions also include regulations concerning energy carriers, such as renewable hydrogen or cooling.

The amendment changes the definition of an energy cluster, which must include at least one local government unit, and extends its scope of activity to include energy storage. Clusters will be able to operate within one county, five neighboring municipalities, and additionally within the area of one Distribution System Operator (DSO). The regulations also introduce a register of clusters and establish the rules of cooperation and settlements with DSOs. By the end of 2026, at least 30% of the energy generated and introduced into the network by the parties of the cluster agreement must come from RES, and the total capacity of the installations launched in the energy cluster must not exceed 150 MW and must be able to cover at least 40% of the total annual demand of the energy cluster parties within a year.

An important element of the introduced changes is the provisions establishing real support for energy clusters in the form of discounts on distribution fees, fees related to RES support systems, high-efficiency cogeneration, and energy efficiency, aimed at accelerating the development of clusters. To benefit from these discounts, it is necessary to register in the clusters register maintained by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) and meet the minimum requirements set for the energy cluster in terms of RES energy consumption, installed capacity of production sources and energy storage, and covering the demand for electricity with its own production.

The amended provisions of the RES Act contain provisions aimed at streamlining the operations of energy cooperatives operating based on registration in the register maintained by the Director General of the National Support Centre for Agriculture (KOWR).

The act raises the power threshold for photovoltaic installations from 50 kW to 150 kW, above which a building permit is required. Furthermore, it introduces a basis for the direct sale of electricity from RES by the producer, as well as an operational support mechanism for specified RES sources that are ending their 15-year support from the origin certificates system.

Legal changes will also introduce the institution of a tenant prosumer to facilitate settlements in the case of RES energy installed on multi-apartment buildings.

Other changes introduced by the amendment to the RES Act include, among others: changing the definition of a hybrid RES installation, modifying the support system for heat generated in RES installations, expanding the scope of controls conducted by the President of the ERO based on the RES Act, monitoring PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) contracts, and establishing a National Contact Point for RES, which will be operated by the minister responsible for climate.

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