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Poland adapts energy policy to ‘give green light to development of energy storage’

The Japanese government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) signed a cooperation agreement with the Polish Ministry of Climate which lead to the commissioning of this hybrid lithium-lead acid storage pilot project at a wind farm. Image: NEDO.

Policymakers in Poland have removed legal and regulatory barriers to the development of an energy storage industry based in the European country.

The Polish Parliament adopted an amendment to national Energy Law concerning the treatment and definition of energy storage, with 443 members of parliament voting in favour of a bill, only three opposing it and no abstentions.

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The comprehensive regulations “open up the possibility of using energy storage facilities in various areas of the power system,” Barbara Adamska, president of the Polish Energy Storage Association told The new rules cover the licensing of electricity storage systems in what Adamska said is a “rational” way and eliminates tariff obligations for “double charging” for energy storage systems’ connection to the grid.

As such, the new rules incentivise energy storage not by drawing subsidies or support funding from the public purse but instead by reducing the fee payable by owners and operators of energy storage assets for connecting to the grid. The new rules create an opportunity for Poland to create a broad energy storage industry, PSME’s president said, from the development of technologies and products to the creation of jobs.

“The amendment to the Energy Law giving the green light to the development of energy storage in Poland is an opportunity for Polish companies to develop innovative solutions and join the global industry at an early stage of its development,” Adamska said.

A rational end to double charging

As the ability to rapidly deploy energy storage for the grid is a relatively new phenomenon, driven by the success of lithium-ion battery tech development and cost reduction, many countries and jurisdictions still do not have electricity storage clearly defined in their regulatory regimes.

This has lead to so-called “double charging” tariffs, where electricity storage facilities are considered either consumers or generators, both activities for which grid-connected asset operators must pay for as network or distribution charges — when in fact they are technically neither. The German energy storage association BVES and European group EASE have long been among those advocating for electricity storage to sit in its own definition category. The UK introduced a definition last year but this has been considered a “stopgap” measure to adapt existing rules rather than creating new rules to accommodate the newer technologies, categorising energy storage in a subset of generation

Poland’s lawmakers appear to have been able to cut through this activity by voting in favour of introducing uniform definitions for “electric energy storage” and “electric energy storage facilities,” that can be used in all other legislation. This also removes other inconsistencies in various regulatory frameworks.

The new rules include energy storage facilities of over 10MW requiring licensing in order to guarantee they can provide services to Poland’s National Power System, while facilities 10MW or smaller do not. However, any system over 50kW does need to register with the transmission system operator or distribution system operator for their area.

Prosumers — those with energy storage systems installed in order to be able to use their own onsite generation, typically from solar — will have to inform their distribution system operator of their intention and let the DSO know what type of storage system they have.

There are also new regulations for issuing grid connection agreements and conditions for connection: connection conditions should be issued for grid-connected storage facilities with voltage rating of no more than 1kV within 30 days, those with higher rated voltages will get their connection conditions set out to them within 150 days. The grid connection fee levied for storage systems will be set at half the cost of the connection work.

Also significant, Barbara Adamska said, are regulations which allow the DSO to include electricity storage in its investment plans, so that cost recovery from tariffs can be made: investments must be justified to ensure the reliable supply of electricity, including cost-benefit analysis to show that energy storage is the most economically viable option available to a DSO.

“The amendment allows Distribution System Operators and Transmission System Operators to consider investment in energy storage as an alternative to grid expansion. This will have a positive impact on the scope of grid investments carried out, often significantly reducing investment time due to a simpler and shorter process of investing in energy storage compared to a project involving the construction of grid sections,” Barbara Adamska of PSME said.

State-owned public power company PGE has said that in targeting carbon neutrality by 2050 it is planning at least 800MW of energy storage deployments by 2030, while the number of prosumers in Poland has leaped from about 4,000 at the end of 2015 to more than 450,000 by the end of last year, according to figures quoted by PSME.

The country will also be introducing auctions for hybrid renewable installations — facilities combining at least two renewable energy systems and an energy storage facility to have a utilisation factor of at least 60%. This year, around 5MW of resources of 1MW or less and 15MW of larger installations are expected to be tendered for in a pilot auction. 

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