In fact, PGE, Poland’s biggest energy company, showcased that Poland’s Baltic Sea has the capacity to generate nine to 12GW of energy, ranking second behind only the North Sea, with the capacity for 13GW.
Up until now, 13 windfarm projects that could potentially generate 25% of Poland’s energy by offshore wind by 2040, have been under consideration. The current plan is for 4.6GW to be installed by 2030, increasing to 6GW by 2035 and subsequently to 10GW by 2040.
Maritime Logistics Project Manager of PGE Baltica, an offshore company of PGE, Radosław Pachecki, stated that the company is looking to build three windfarms with an option to develop more of the 13 concession sites in partnership with other energy companies. He further reported new positive findings from a 20-month feasibility study PGE has undertaken into the Baltic Sea’s suitability for offshore wind.
The still ongoing report has found favorable wind speeds, relatively shallow sea depths and calmer sea conditions compared to the North Sea. PGE has now confidence that the building of the windfarms is “cost optimized” with overheads dramatically reduced due to better technology and know-how.
The PGE’s windfarms will generate an estimated 2.5GW of power combined and work is expected to begin in 2022 and be installed by 2035. Additionally, the proposed windfarms, located 20 kilometers from the Polish coastline, are expected to create maintenance work for 18 years with the first electricity coming online in 2025-2026.
Moreover, Europe’s energy demands were also expressed during the same conference. Iain Shepherd from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries stated that Europe will require twice as much electricity with 80-85% coming from renewable sources, by 2050. By 2030, four times as much energy is expected to be generated by offshore wind.
This change will thus drive massive opportunity for supply chain businesses of steel manufacturing, cables and components across Europe.
Port of Gdynia Authority Managing Board President, Adam Meller, demonstrated the biggest infrastructure program the port has ever seen, with environmental remarks and green energy at top priority. The plans in particular, include an investment in dredging the port in order to be able to accommodate larger vessels, including the reconstruction of 1,501 meters of wharfs.
Nevertheless, he noted that as a city-center-based port, air quality is paramount; the port should adhere to all emissions restrictions, as visiting vessels must meet “the lowest possible levels of emissions.” He further announced that a complete replacement of the railway system with renewable alternatives, such as hydrogen powered trains at the port is also under examination.
The Mayor of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, said that Poland is about to enter a new era of huge investment and opportunity in its maritime and offshore industry. He added that "Poland’s current energy demand is 41GW and growing. But with the coal power stations coming to the end of their life we know by 2035 it will be necessary to close down 20GW of aging coal power stations in Poland. As a result, there is a massive responsibility to make the Baltic windfarm happen."
The Polish Offshore Wind Energy Society and the Polish Maritime Technology Forum, two of the prime organisations leading Poland’s offshore sector agreed ob a deal during the event, in order to encourage knowledge exchange and cooperation between a wide range of businesses and stakeholders in the offshore and maritime sector, further supporting the Baltic windfarm project
Slawomir Kalicki, the conference chairman is confident about the project, adding that “the industry now employs more than 112,000 people and generates more than nine billion Euros ($10 billion) for the economy. This year we have seen new figures released showing Poland’s three major ports Gdansk, Gdynia, Szczecin broke all records in 2018 by handling more than 100 million tonnes of cargo for the first time, a 16 percent increase on 2017."
He added that
This growth is supported by infrastructure investments, including 208 billion Euros ($232 billion) in E.U. funding between 2007 and 2020, across the Polish hinterland. As a result, Poland is becoming a more efficient, competitive maritime nation where our ports and shipyards are some of the most important on the Baltic Sea.
Europe invested €27 billion in new wind farms in 2018, which will finance a record amount of future new wind energy capacity; The amount invested is similar to previous years, but, thanks to cost reduction especially in offshore wind, it will finance a record 16.7 GW of new wind capacity.
Recently, WindEurope's newly-launched 'Wind Energy Outlook to 2023' highlights that there is an uncertainty on how EU's wind energy will develop in the following five years, something that will be primarily impacted by the Governments' moves and results to the fact that the UK will hold the 35% of offshore wind in this timeframe.