AMENDMENT TO THE RENEWABLE ENERGY ACT 2023

As of October 1, 2023, an amendment to the Renewable Energy Act has come into effect, aiming to implement part of the RED II directive into the Polish legal system. The new regulations will accelerate the development of renewable energy, energy clusters, and introduce cable pooling, which involves connecting at least two renewable energy sources to the same connection point.

The amendment envisions the sharing of connection infrastructure by beneficiaries of the auction support system and FIT/FIP systems, with the provision that the electricity producer in the planned installation does not and will not use any support mechanisms for energy production from renewable sources.

The primary goal of the amendment is to expedite 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 renewable sources in total energy production and introduces regulations to increase the share of alternative fuels in overall fuel consumption.

The project partially introduces solutions related to the energy, heating, and cooling markets into Polish law. It also includes provisions for offshore wind, biomethane, energy clusters, operational support for renewable energy, and hybrid installations. It introduces the definition of biomethane, establishes a register of biogas producers, eliminates support for biogas in the form of certificates of origin, and establishes operational support for biomethane, added to the catalog of gaseous fuels. The amendment also regulates energy carriers such as renewable hydrogen and cooling.

The amendment changes the definition of an energy cluster, requiring the inclusion of at least one local government unit, expanding its scope of activities to include energy storage. Clusters will be able to operate in the territory of one county, five neighboring municipalities, and additionally in the area of one distribution system operator (DSO). The regulations also introduce a cluster register, establishing rules for cooperation and settlements with the DSO. By the end of 2026, at least 30% of the energy produced and introduced into the grid by the energy cluster agreement parties must come from renewable sources, with the total capacity of the installations not exceeding 150 MW, allowing to cover at least 40% of the total annual demand of the energy cluster parties.

A significant element of the introduced changes is the provisions establishing real support for energy clusters in the form of reductions in distribution fees, fees related to renewable energy support systems, high-efficiency cogeneration, and energy efficiency, aiming to accelerate cluster development. The condition for benefiting from these reductions is obtaining registration in the cluster register maintained by the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (URE) and meeting minimum requirements for energy consumption from renewable sources, installed capacity of energy sources, and energy storage, as well as covering energy demand with own electricity production.

The amended provisions of the Renewable Energy Act include provisions aimed at streamlining the operations of energy cooperatives, which operate based on registration in the register maintained by the Director General of the National Support Center for Agriculture (KOWR).

The amendment raises the power threshold for photovoltaic installations from 50 to 150 kW, above which a building permit is required. Additionally, it introduces the basis for selling electricity from renewable sources directly from the producer and an operational support mechanism for specified renewable energy sources, ending 15-year support from the certificate of origin system.

Legal changes also introduce the institution of a tenant prosumer to facilitate settlements for energy from renewable sources installed in multi-family buildings.

We hope that this solution will reduce the number of disputes over refusals to connect to the grid. Other changes introduced by the amendment to the Renewable Energy Act include modifying the definition of a hybrid renewable energy installation, modifying the support system for heat produced in renewable energy installations, expanding the scope of control carried out by the President of URE based on the Renewable Energy Act, monitoring Power Purchase Agreement contracts, and establishing a National Contact Point for Renewable Energy, to be managed by the Minister responsible for climate affairs.