New bill could increase small hydropower in Poland

WARSAW, Poland 2/6/12 (PennWell) -- Poland is looking to increase the share of renewable electricity within its energy mix from 10% to 15.5% over the next decade, and this would include investment in small hydro plants.

A new draft bill would help Poland, which currently generates more than 90% of its electricity with coal, meet the European Union's renewable production standards by 2020. A 2010 EU directive implemented in 2010 says that members will reach a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

"Our goal is to simplify, optimize and improve the support mechanism for renewables," says deputy economic minister Mievczslaw Kasprzak.

According to Kasprzak, Poland's annual spending on renewables could increase from less than US$1 billion in 2012 to $2.46 billion in 2020.

Currently, Poland's hydroelectric output accounts for less than 2% of the country's overall output, according to a study performed by Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB). CCB's report also says almost 90% of Poland's hydro potential remains untapped, meaning there is significant room for growth in hydroelectric growth.

The proposed bill would divert investment to solar energy, biogas, offshore wind, and small hydro. It would cut support for biomass, old hydro facilities and on-shore wind farms.

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