June 20, 2012

  Green Certificate prices are still dropping, but rather only for the time being

On the other hand, when it comes to green certificates, the overproduction of green energy as forecast by certain analysts mainly due to co-firing may be the case. The situation is uncertain since the official data on the performance of obligations in the scope of production of energy
from renewable energy sources last year has not yet been published. However, according to certain
institutions’ estimates, the share of consumed green energy is claimed to be close to the obligatory level of 10.4 percent. This year, this ratio will not change and hence connection of a greater number of new renewable sources may trigger the threat of overproduction. This threat should,
however, disappear next year. Starting from January 1, 2013, the threshold of mandatory share of green energy will increase from 10.4 percent to 12 percent and during the years to come it is going to increase by 1 percent annually. At the end of May, a regulation increasing the obligatory level of purchased green energy was received by the European Commission which now has three months to notify the regulation. Afterwards, the Minister of Economy will be allowed to issue it.

A potential period of six months during which green certificates will be traded at lower prices does not necessarily have to be as painful as it might appear. The renewable energy producers usually sell their certificates of origin at a fixed price based on long-term contracts, which is a requirement of financing banks. Even though these contracts do not cover 100 percent of the certificates “produced”, they still stabilize the revenues of producers. More harmful is the situation for traders of green certificates on the stock exchange. In the event of minor price reductions of the market price, one should not expect that certificate purchase agreement will be terminated. Even if the stock exchange prices drop below the contract prices, when it comes to termination of contracts, potential contractual penalties, the market risk to be handled by the purchaser, and last but not least a perspective of another increase of demand for the certificates from 2013 should constitute a discouraging factor. 

  Poland wielded a veto against the Energy Roadmap 2050

Irrespective of this fact, Poland vetoed the Energy Roadmap 2050 due to the attempts to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from Polish energy sector based almost 90 percent on carbon, which does not constitute the best forecast for the development of the renewable sector. The government intends to not agree to set this target also during the further works on the Energy Roadmap and other documents. In the nearest future the European Energy Ministers will deal with the document entitled "Renewable energy a major player in the European Energy Market". Even though the very draft does not contain the target of 30 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2030, the Commission still noted that support in the form of binding targets will be necessary. The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), the umbrella group for Europe’s renewable energy industry, has proposed a binding target to ensure renewables make up 45% of the energy mix by 2030. According to European officials, failure to prolong the obligations after 2020 will bring about a drop in the speed of development of renewable energy sources in the European Union from 6 to 1 percent annually.

Other options include new goals for emissions cuts, but no goals for renewable energy, which would leave the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as the main instrument to cut carbon emissions and encourage renewable energy. Britain, for instance, wants an emphasis on the carbon goal and argues that a renewable goal might be a disadvantage to other low carbon energy generation, such as nuclear or even gas. But many in the renewable industry say the collapse of the ETS to less than €7, far below the €20-€50 level which analysts believe is necessary to spur investment, demonstrates the value of targets. EREC wants the EU’s CO2 cuts target for 2020 raised from 20% to 30%. 

  Storm clouds brewing over nuclear power plant construction?

According to the last McKinsey report for the Ministry of Economy, nuclear energy is not the most cost-efficient form of reducing CO2 emissions. It follows from the report that Poland will reduce CO2 emissions by 7 percent by 2050 thanks to the nuclear program, while the cost of avoiding a ton of CO2 thanks to the nuclear technology was set at EUR 30. The daily Rzeczpospolita notes that it is less than in the event of renewable energy (44 EUR/t CO2) and CCS (80 EUR/t CO2), but higher than it could be achieved by boosting the energy efficiency (4 EUR/t CO2). At the same time, it should not be forgotten that the efficiency of the remaining technologies is materially higher. Renewable energy sources quoting the report allow for emission reduction at a level of 23 percent, the energy efficiency increase at a level of 21 percent, and CCS at a level of 18 percent. 

  Photovoltaics to become a major RES in Poland as well?

For a larger plant, usually a site of 50 to 100 ha is needed. The sun’s intensity in Poland is comparable to Northern Germany and leads to a capacity of approximately 1000 MWh per year – which is 40 percent production of an average wind power plant - and varies at the whole country only by more or less 3 percent. The investment process for PV power plants is far shorter than with wind farms and includes obtaining a feasible site with a long-term lease contract, obtaining the planning permit (WZ) – a time-consuming planning process is rather a nice to have and not a must as with wind farms due to noise emissions - a simplified environmental permit – no bird and bat report - and a building permit. The Achilles’ heal is the grid connection, as applications for wind farms are queuing in many areas in Poland. Nevertheless the investment process to reach a ready-to-build status lasts approximately one and a half years instead of three to five years with wind farms. 


For more information please contact:



dr Christian Schnell
venture agreements
C. David DeBenedetti J.D.
project finance
Joanna Świostek
project development/planning
and building law/commercial

DeBenedetti Majewski Szcześniak has been chosen
by Corporate Intl Magazine 2012 as the:

“Renewable Energy Law, Firm of the Year in Poland”

“Project Finance Law, Firm of the Year in Poland”

“Investment Funds Law, Firm of the Year in Poland”




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