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Operational Programme (OP) in Poland in 2007-2013:
16 Regional Operational Programmes: SF: 1 091 million EUR
Managing Authority: Ministry of Regional Development
Priority 9: Infrastructure of Environmental Protection
approved in 2009:
goal 9.4 Energy production from renewable sources
goal 9.1 Highly Efficient Energy Production
OP Infrastructure and Environment: CF+ERDF: 36 385 mil. EUR
Managing Authority: Ministry of Regional Development
Priority 10: Environment-friendly energy infrastructure
Even though at the time of compiling this report the overall absorption of EU funds for 2007- 2013 in Poland is very low in cases involving all types of projects in the field of infrastructure and environment, still, the implementation of RE/EE projects is even relatively less advanced. However, this slow beginning of implementation does not seem to be a threat to the absorption of EU funds planned for investments in RE and EE in 2007- 2013 – the allocations are low and the demand is relatively high, so one can expect, that at least in the majority of RE/EE measures the funding will be applied for and contracted quickly, as soon as formal and institutional capacity barriers are overcome. In measures where competitions have already been held, the demand for funding exceeded many times the available allocation (with the most spectacular case of projects for improving energy efficiency in public utility buildings). Therefore, low available allocation remains the biggest barrier in achieving the substantial climate proofing of Poland’s economy with the use of EU funds.
In view of the limited allocations from EU funds, national funding for both RE and EE remains an important option. In response to the economic crisis, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management has launched a loan programme for production of energy from renewable resources. In the field of energy efficient refurbishment, funding for housing has been provided continuously for the last 10 years – EU funds are available almost exclusively for public utility buildings.
Overview of analyzed
The Operational Programme Infrastructure & Environment (OPIE) is Poland’s largest EU-funded programme, and in fact it is the biggest single programme of this type in EU history, with an allocation of EUR 27.9 billion from the Cohesion Fund and ERDF (national co-financing is EUR 9.7 billion).
OPIE includes investments in a large variety of sectors (listed from largest to smallest allocation): transport, environmental protection, energy, higher education, culture and health care. Implementation of this programme will have by far the biggest impact on the country’s economy and development path, as well as on the environment and Poland’s greenhouse gas emissions. One of the OP’s indicators (used also in the NSRF) is the increase of CO2 emissions by approximately 30 percent between 2004 and 2013. According to the Programme, the production of electricity from renewable sources should increase from 2.0% to 7.5% in the same time. The energy demand of the GDP should decrease by ca. 8% (from 0.27 to 0.22 koe/euro). Energy savings and, in some cases, directly CO2 mitigation are project selection criteria only in measures directly related to EE/RE. All other beneficiaries of this OP are only required to declare and describe how their project will contribute to EU environmental policy (including on climate change) and how energy efficient are the proposed technologies.
The energy efficiency of technologies applied in projects in the field of transport is a YES/NO criterion, so in practice it’s a matter of declaration required for formal reasons, rather than a way to assess the climate impact of a project. Moreover, this energy efficiency relates to technologies used by the beneficiary rather than the nature of the project itself (e.g. the energy efficiency of constructing a road is – at least in theory – assessed, but not the climate impact of the new road due to the increase in car use).
In each of Poland’s 16 regions a Regional Operational Programme is implemented, with specific regional priorities and projects smaller than in the national programmes. The joint allocation is EUR 16.5 billion. Measures more or less directly relating to RE can be found in all of the programmes, all Regional OPs include also support for transport.
OP Innovative Economy with an allocation of EUR 8.2 billion can contribute, in theory, to an increase in use of renewable energy sources or better energy efficiency, through direct investments in innovative technologies in enterprises, as well as research & development projects. However, RE or EE related projects are not a separate measure under the programme. Therefore, the impact of this programme on climate change is difficult to assess and rather marginal – the list of current beneficiaries shows only a few single project titles clearly relating to RE/EE among almost 2000 projects contracted as of October 2009. A few relevant projects can be found in the individual project list.
Transboundary, transnational and interregional programmes under the objective of European Territorial Cooperation (allocation of EUR 557m) provide opportunities for the transfer of experiences, including pilot projects, possibly also in the field of RE/EE.
OP Human Capital implements the entire allocation of the European Social Fund for Poland in 2007-2013 (EUR 9.7 billion). While the main goal of the programme is the increase of employment and social cohesion, RE/EE can be a topic e.g. for stimulation of ‘green job creation’ or capacity building. By October 2009, over 10 000 contracts for projects have already been signed, and over 1000 projects have already been completed. Among them, at least a dozen projects are directly connected to renewable energy sources in rural areas. A more detailed analysis is difficult due to the large and quickly increasing number of approved projects and lack of detailed data apart from project titles.
Energy savings and renewables in the EU Funds
Absorption in measures directly related to RE/EE is slow (competitions
held in three out of seven measures, two ranking lists), however, given
the low allocation, it seems that the funding will be disbursed relatively
fast (in some measures, within the first organized competition).
Production of energy from RE (9.4) also proved to be popular among beneficiaries. The measure includes biomass, wind and hydropower projects, however, wind projects have dominated the ranking list of approved projects.
Barriers to implementation:
According to an official of the Ministry of Economy, EU funds for the energy sector are in general implemented slower due to the necessary approval of state aid programmes by the European Commission.
A significant barrier to the implementation of some wind and hydropower
projects can be their clash with nature protection and the Natura 2000
network, if not located properly.