Dienstag, 26. Januar 2016

Update Renewables in Poland - RES Act Amendment Enacted Including Furhter Changes

● By Legal Counsel Dr. Christian Schnell, Warsaw ● 

The final, on 22 December enacted version of the RES Act amendment, which has been as a draft published on 17 December, implements further changes to the RES Act entering into force by 31 December 2015. As we already informed by our last newsletter on 18 December 2015, chapter 4 of the RES Act will enter into force 6 months later, i.e. by 1 July 2016. Accordingly, the amended RES Act gives URE 90 days from the moment chapter 4 RES Act will enter into force, i.e. until 28 September 2016 to publish the date of the first auction, which will then take place at least 30 days after the publication date. So, the first auction is expected to take place in the last quarter of 2016, whereas the RES Act obliges to organize an auction at least once per year. Consequently, the obligation of the Regulatory Office URE to publish the auction guidelines will enter into force by 1 July 2016, and URE already stated unofficially not to publish the guidelines before chapter 4 will enter into force. The obligation to issue prequalification certificates entered into force already by 1 May 2015 and this has not been amended, so URE should soon issue prequalification certificates. Furthermore, the validity of feed-in tariffs for microinstallations up to 3kW and up to 10 kW installed capacity has been postponed for 6 months until 1 July 2016. 

Dr. Christian Schnell
Even more, as we indicated in our previous newsletter the draft amendment was unclear whether large hydropower and non-dedicated co-firing will still receive one green certificate per MWh for the first half of 2016. The final version of the RES Act amendment clarified this issue, so that large hydropower installations will be definitively phased out from the support system by 1 January 2016, whereas non-dedicated co-firing installations will receive only 0.5 green certificates per MWh and will be switched off. Additionally, as the draft amendment act did not properly cover the issue, whether for the whole year 2016 or only after implementation of chapter 4 the obligation to redeem green certificates apply, the final version clarified also this issue. It has been also clarified, that for the first half of 2016 the obligation of suppliers of last resort to purchase electricity for the yearly ERO price will continue, the same as the obligation to purchase green heat. Finally, the RES Act amendment made no final decision whether new RES generators can still connect in the first half of 2016. In the current wording the green certificate support system does not fully comply with all requirements of the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy 2014-2020 (EEAG) applying from 1 January 2016 (see clause 124 lit.c “measures are put in place to ensure that generators have no incentive to generate electricity under negative prices” whereas the auction system includes such a measure, see section 93.4 RES Act), so there is a risk that due to incompatibility with the EEAG new generators which connect in the first half of 2016 to the green certificate system have to pay back received support as not permitted state aid. However, this should not apply for a set of devices, e.g. wind turbines, in case at least one turbine of a wind farm will be connected to the grid by end of 2015 and the rest within the first half of 2016.

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