Poland turns toward bets on offshore wind

The development of offshore wind farms in Poland has never before taken place on such a large scale. The PGE Group is the biggest investor in offshore wind farms in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea in terms of wind turbine capacity. As part of its offshore program, the PGE Group is currently implementing three offshore wind farm projects.

Two of them are the offshore wind power plants Baltica 2 and Baltica 3, which comprise the Baltica Offshore Wind Farm with a total capacity of 2.5GW. PGE is implementing this project together with the Danish partner Ørsted. Both phases of the Baltica offshore wind farm have location decisions, environmental decisions, and grid connection agreements with the operator, and have been granted the right to a Contract for Difference (CfD).

As part of its offshore program, the PGE Group is currently implementing three offshore wind farm projects.

Last April, PGE and Ørsted took a major step in the Baltica 2 project. They signed the first of the contracts for the supply of wind turbines. Subsequently, they also signed a contract for the supply of offshore substations in June. Baltica 2 is expected to start producing green energy in 2027, while the entire Baltica Offshore Wind Farm will be completed within this decade.

Independently of the Baltica Offshore Wind Farm, the PGE Group is developing a third project, Baltica 1. Commissioning is scheduled after 2030 and its capacity will be approximately 0.9GW. The project already has a location permit and a connection agreement. In May 2022, wind measurement studies for this project started, followed by environmental studies in autumn 2022. The energy produced by all three farms will supply nearly 5.5 million households in Poland.  This means that more than a third of all Polish households will be provided with energy from wind power.

Baltica 2 is expected to start producing green energy in 2027, while the entire Baltica Offshore Wind Farm will be completed within this decade.

At the same time, the PGE Group has received final decisions on new permits for the construction of artificial islands for five new areas to be developed in the Baltic Sea, which will enable the construction of further offshore wind power plants in the future. The total capacity potential from the new areas provides PGE with more than 3.9GW. Considering the projects currently under development (Baltica 2, Baltica 3 and Baltica 1) with a total capacity of approximately 3.4GW, PGE Capital Group’s offshore wind portfolio may increase to over 7.3GW by 2040.

Offshore wind — a new chapter for the Polish economy

A long-term vision for the development of the Polish offshore wind sector, based on the carefully assessed potential of this technology, will support the development of the energy sector in Poland. The benefits of offshore wind development in Poland should be considered in several aspects — first and foremost, due to their total capacity, offshore wind farms will become a very important new source of clean, green energy for Poland in just a few years.

“Offshore wind energy will make a significant contribution to Poland’s energy mix. The three projects currently under construction by the PGE Group, with a total capacity of almost 3.5GW, will generate electricity for almost 5.5 million households. All the investments planned for the Baltic Sea are crucial for strengthening Poland’s energy security. Regarding the Polish economy, in particular the economy of the entire Pomerania region, the construction of offshore wind farms will provide a strong development stimulus. This is not only about businesses closely related to wind energy, such as companies supplying components for offshore wind power plants. Jobs will also be created by businesses willing to join the development of this new sector and take advantage of the opportunities it brings,” said Wojciech Dąbrowski, president of the management board of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A.

All the investments planned for the Baltic Sea are crucial for strengthening Poland’s energy security.

The construction of offshore wind farms will ensure Poland’s energy security

The development of offshore wind is also crucial to Poland’s energy security and independence. Thanks to the production of energy from renewable sources, there is no need to import fossil fuels from abroad or rely on dwindling domestic coal resources.

This means that Poland will not be dependent on external fuel suppliers or various international developments. The ability to generate electricity independently contributes to strengthening the country’s energy sovereignty.

Energy, environmental and social benefits

Poland has ambitions and capabilities to become one of the leaders in offshore wind energy development in the Baltic Sea and even in Europe. We have plenty of resources for the development of offshore wind farms because of our favorable geographical location and natural conditions — strong, stable winds and the relatively shallow considerable area of the Baltic Sea, located in the exclusive economic zone. The Baltic Sea has some of the best wind conditions not only in Europe but also in the world, which are comparable to those in the North Sea.

Offshore wind energy is a key element of sustainable development. For Poland, green wind energy means savings, security and energy independence at the same time. Electricity from renewable sources is less expensive than that generated from fossil fuels. By choosing green energy, consumers can save on their electricity bills while at the same time supporting the development of a green energy sector. As a zero-emission energy source, it contributes to achieving climate policy goals and minimizing negative environmental impact. It is a huge step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The creation of an infrastructure for the construction of alternative energy sources with wind farms will ensure the diversification of energy sources.



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Why aren’t there more women in EU’s offshore renewable energy sector?

By Helena Rodrigues, Ocean Policy Officer, and Larissa Milo-Dale, Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Improving gender balance in the EU’s fastest expanding maritime industry is crucial to ensure that the fundamental human right of gender equality is upheld in Europe’s fight against life-threatening climate change, Helena Rodrigues and Larissa Milo-Dale write.

In April 2023, at the WindEurope annual event in Copenhagen, entering a room filled with men in navy suits seemed to confirm the state of play of sectors “known” for low gender diversity. 

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While by no means a new anecdote, stories like these are ringing heavier in our ears after so many decades of awareness of the problem, and they fly in the face of initiatives like the EU Gender Equality Strategy. 

We can’t help but wonder, to paraphrase Beyoncé, where are the girls “who run the world?”

The renewable energy sector is growing, and women are technically equipped to contribute. Studies show that companies with at least 30% of women engaged in high-level positions consistently perform better at all levels. 

Women also now make up half of all EU university graduates, indicating their potential as catalysts for change at decision-making levels. Yet data on gender diversity continue to show women as the odd ones out.

Still no seat at the table

Today, the gender wage gap across the EU energy industry is nearly 20%. Further, women only occupy up to 20% of senior roles in some sub-sectors; in fossil–fuel–related ones, it’s only up to 15%.

At the EU decision-making level, just four women sit in the European Council. In the European Parliament, less than 10% of climate and energy legislative files are led by women, despite women making up 40% of Members of the European Parliament.

Women are actively missing from the discourses that decide both their immediate and long-term socioeconomic realities. 

This includes not having an equitable say in the energy mixes available in their communities, and thus the price of energy and how this trickles down into the price of food. 

Women are thus also absent from decisions about how to improve their employment opportunities in energy and policy. 

Similarly, given that women are more heavily impacted by climate change than men, having an equal voice in decision-making arenas to reduce energy-related emissions is essential to their long-term well-being.

Gender parity for carbon neutrality

Offshore wind is fast becoming a key player in Europe’s blue economy. EU Member States have pledged to reach at least 116 GW by 2030 — a 625% increase from 2022 levels. 

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And no time is being wasted: just this summer, Germany announced the results of its biggest auction to date, with €12.6 billion pledged for 7 GW of new projects.

However, a transition from fossil fuels to renewables does not necessarily mean a more diverse and equal future for all. 

Many of the companies currently leading investment in offshore wind have a background in oil and gas (BP and TotalEnergies won the German auction), a historically male-dominated sector. 

And targets set by the industry to improve diversity are woefully inadequate: 30% of women across management levels by 2025 is a far cry from equality.

During the 2023 State of the EU address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasised the Commission’s commitment to the EU Gender Equality Strategy and announced the development of a “European Wind Power Package”. 

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These are excellent opportunities for policymakers, offshore wind project developers and civil society to ensure gender-responsive investments in new technologies and skills training that will see more women enter the industry.

Building the winds of change

If our leaders are to make good on their energy transition promises, it’s time to deeply challenge the social and cultural norms that affect our perceptions — both women’s and men’s — of what roles women can play. 

As long as key stakeholders remain absent from the decision-making table, climate action falls radically short of being truly sustainable.

The EU and its member states should radically increase efforts to promote the entry of more women into the renewable energy sector by improving their involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. 

Further, gender-balanced stakeholder participation should be legally required in all renewable energy project consultations, as well as in the development of community compensation schemes designed to mitigate any negative impacts of new developments.

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Gender equality must also be firmly embedded in all EU renewable energy policy forums.

But, as we’ve seen, the proof lies in the numbers, and we need a different story than the one being told so far. 

A common framework to collect gender-specific data is needed to monitor progress towards gender equality across all energy sub-sectors. 

The knowledge gained from these datasets will also support the EU in empowering women to actively and effectively participate in the carbon-neutral transition.

It’s time to set the EU apart

Proactively raising the roles and profiles of women in the global fight against the climate crisis would set the EU apart, providing a positive example for countries all over the world to follow.

Ultimately, though, the shift to a clean, renewables-based energy system should simply affirm the social values we want for our society, including the fundamental human right of gender equality. 

Offshore wind is clearly the EU’s way forward, and women need to be an equal part of it.

Helena Rodrigues is Ocean Policy Officer and Larissa Milo-Dale is Senior Communications Officer at the WWF European Policy Office.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

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