Poland scales down planned cut in support for renewables

WARSAW Sat Oct 6, 2012 12:12pm BST

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland has scaled down its plan to cut support for renewable energy to a total of 2.3 billion zlotys ($738 million) by the end of the decade from 9.7 billion zlotys, an updated draft bill on renewables released late on Friday showed.

The new law, which cuts support for large biomass co-firing and onshore wind installations in favour of micro-generation, solar power and offshore, put the total cost of the system by 2020 at 62.1 billion zlotys versus 54.7 billion seen earlier.

The updated law marks another shift in the Economy Ministry's support for renewables, designed to help Poland reduce its heavy dependence on coal and meet the European Union's green energy targets.

Previous versions of the bill had to be rewritten after angry responses from local utilities, which had invested millions in burning biomass, as well as the wind power industry, which feared it could go bust with lower state support.

Poland generates around 90 percent of its electricity from coal. To meet European Union regulations on carbon emissions, the former Soviet-bloc nation has to increase the share of renewable energy to at least 15 percent by 2020.

The country's renewable energy drive has to date focused on onshore wind farms and burning biomass, which involves mixing wood and other plant material in with the coal before it is burned in coal-fired power stations.

Economy ministry officials had said earlier that biomass co-firing was not economically viable and that the system has favoured onshore wind too heavily.

The draft bill will now sent to the government and later to the parliament.

(Reporting by Maciej Onoszko; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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