April 23, 2019 / 2:39 PM / 7 months ago

EBRD to spend more on Polish green-energy projects this year

WARSAW (Reuters) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to increase its funding for Poland’s renewable energy this year, after the government shifted toward green energy, a top EBRD official said.

FILE PHOTO: The headquarter of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is seen in London, Britain, November 22, Britain 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Since winning a general election in 2015, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), which sees renewable energy source as unstable, had introduced laws on wind farms that have made many of them unprofitable.

As a result Poland, which generates most of its electricity from coal, has seen few investments in renewable sources and faced increased risk of missing the European Union’s green energy targets by 2020.

But last year the pro-coal PiS changed direction. In an attempt to bring Poland back on track to meet EU requirements, it removed tax disincentives for wind farms and began auctions under a new subsidy system.

“We plan to increase the financing of renewable energy projects this year ... We are very happy with the change of the government’s stance toward the renewable sources,” Grzegorz Zielinski, EBRD’s regional director told Reuters.

He said that from 2012 to 2014, EBRD’s financing of renewable energy projects amounted to 250 million to 350 million euros a year. EBRD may now increase total financing in Poland to around 650 million euros from 560 million last year.

“We assume that this year we will return to these levels, since in the past three years this financing was practically nil,” Zielinski also said.

He added that EBRD expects to back new onshore wind farms and photovoltaic projects this year and did not rule out cooperation with Poland’s four biggest and state-run energy groups.

“We see the possibility of cooperation with them on renewables projects, especially on the offshore wind farms, due to their scale,” Zielinski said.

“... At the moment, we are not talking about graduation, which is reducing the scale of activity in Poland. We focus on what else needs to be done,” Zielinski said.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, editing by Larry King

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