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POLAND ( 2007-13 period)

SF main

Countries Solar Wind Hydro Bio Geo Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Projects:

Construction Industry Goes Green with Building Standards

Short description: The project will produce guidelines with the best practices, techniques and institutional structures about environmental considerations for buildings, and improve the building standards after making a review of the ones in place in Denmark, Germany, Lithuania and Poland.
Time period: 2009-2012
EU contribution:
1,900,000 EUR

Urban Homes Turn Green in Baltic Sea Region (URB.ENERGY)

Short description: Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Belarus will improve the energy efficiency and do sustainable rehabilitation of its existing residential areas, promoting the use of renewable energy.
Period: 2009-2012
EU contribution: 2,900,000 EUR

More information: Go to Energy Efficiency Projects


Operational Programme (OP) in Poland in 2007-2013:

16 Regional Operational Programmes: SF: 1 091 million EUR

Managing Authority: Ministry of Regional Development
Implementing Authority: Marshal Office - regional local authorities.

Priority 9: Infrastructure of Environmental Protection

Actions supported:
- Investment to emission reduction from the combustion of different energy sources
- installation of equipment reducing gaseous and dust pollutants.
- Modernisation of district heating networks seeking to increase efficiency.
- Development of centralised heat supply networks.
- Increase of capacity for production of heat and electricity from renewable energy sources (wind power, solar power, biomass, water and geothermal energy).

Eligible beneficiaries:
- Municipalities.
- Non-profit organisations.
- Entities of government administration.
- State universities.
- Churches and religious associations.
- Non-governmental organisations, associations and other public institutions.

Infrastructure and Environment Protection - Priority 9 (update: December 2010, March 2011)
Environmental Friendly Energy Infrastructure - Energy Efficiency.

Managing authority: Ministry of Economy and a Fund under Ministry of Environment - National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.

In 2008-2009, a several renewable projects were supported from Structural Funds in Poland in this Priority 9.

Renewable energy projects were supported from specific operational goals within Priority 9:
9.4 Energy production from renewable sources
9.5 Production of biofuel from renewable sources

Link to the website of the Operational Programme "Infrastructure and Environment" (in Polish):
Total amount of funds allocated in 2007-2013 to 9.4 priority: 379,5 mill EUR
Total amount of funds allocated in 2007-2013 to 9.5 priority: 43,4 mill EUR

There was 34 RE projects supported by the programme.
The total amount of funds for renewable energy projects were 170 302 269 EUR (660 074 567 PLN).
It was allocated to the following categories:
Wind 18 projects for 110 798 313 RUP (429 443 184 PLN)
Biomass or biogas 14 projects for 59 503 956 EUR (230 631 383 PLN)

Projects approved in 2009:
SF managed by the Polish Ministry of Economy
Operational Program: Infrastructure and Environment

Operational goal 9.4 Energy production from renewable sources
Total amount 742 000 000 PLN (183 318 500 Euro) (in Polish)

Download the table of projects as pdf file. (English)

Operational goal 9.1 Highly Efficient Energy Production
Total amount CF funds 83 770 000 euro

Operational goal 9.2 Efficient Energy Distribution
Total amount CF funds 139 040 000 euro

Operational goal 9.3 Thermo-modernisation of public utility premises
Total amount CF funds 55 270 000 euro (in Polish)
Download the table of projects as pdf file (English)

OP Infrastructure and Environment: CF+ERDF: 36 385 mil. EUR

Managing Authority: Ministry of Regional Development
Implementing Authority: Depends on the priority

Priority 10: Environment-friendly energy infrastructure

Actions supported:
Improvement of the electricity generation efficiency, in particular energy from combined heat and power production (CHP) and reducing electrical energy and heat losses during transmission and distribution.
- Dispersed energy generation, as well the construction of local, small co-generation units which would produce electricity and heat for local needs, without having to be dispatched for long distances, are the priority of the strategy to reduce energy-intensity in energy generation and energy transmission.
- Improvement of heat distribution efficiency to recipients.
- Energy savings in the public sector shall include support for thermo- modernisation of public utility premises, including changing their infrastructure to include equipment of the highest, economically justified, energy efficiency.
- Increase of the use of renewable energy sources. It is necessary to implement initiatives aimed at increasing the amount of electricity and heat produced from renewable energy sources. Higher use of renewable energy sources shall be implemented through implementation of
investments concerning construction or modernisation of entities producing:
• electricity using biomass, biogas, energy of wind and water,
• heat with the use of biomass, geothermal and solar energy,
• combined heat and power from renewable energy sources,
• biodiesel fuel and other fuels, excluding agricultural products specified in Annex I to the Treaty establishing the European Communities.

Eligible beneficiaries:
• Entrepreneurs.
• Entities of territorial self government and their associations.
• Entities of government administration.
• State universities.
• Churches and religious associations.
• Non-governmental organisations, associations and other public institutions.

EU Funds and Climate in Poland

Updated, May 2010

Allocations of EU funds in Poland for projects directly contributing to fighting climate change (production of energy from renewable sources and increasing energy efficiency) remain alarmingly low in view of the country’s current energy portfolio and wasteful use of energy. Anti-crisis measures taken by the government did not include shifts in EU funds allocations and such moves are not on the political agenda.

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 Operational Programmes

EU-funded projects in Poland are selected in competitions or named by Managing Authorities as strategic, ‘individual’ projects under various Operational Programmes.

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

Poland has not taken any action to shift funding towards RE/EE. In a letter of July 6, 2009, received by Bankwatch from the Ministry of Regional Development, there is no indication that such a shift in OP Infrastructure & Environment is neither seriously considered nor or known when it could happen. Possible changes in Regional OPs are subject to decisions made by the regional authorities. One reason for a reluctance to shift funding within OPs may be the general low absorption – shifts are much more likely to happen when the money for some measures is already absorbed, while in others there is a threat of not
absorbing the allocation in time.

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).
In measure 9.3 (energy efficient refurbishment of public utility buildings), financing all good-quality projects (approved and reserve list) submitted in the first round would require ca. four times higher allocation. This proves the high demand for energy efficiency projects.

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:
• general barriers applying to all EU programmes – slow start (capacity, bureaucracy)
• state aid: for measures involving state aid, a state aid programme must be accepted by the European Commission (after decisions of the EC in July 2009, now all measures can be implemented).

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.

Report: Potential Unfulfilled, March 2010, 30p (pdf file 460 kB) by Bankwatch Network, FoE-Europe