Poland: Changes to the special purpose Act on Energy Transmission
On 16 March 2017, work was completed in the Polish Parliament on the adoption of amendments to the Act on the preparation and implementation of strategic investments in energy transmission networks. On 23 March, the bill was signed by the president. The goal of the new law is to provide secure electricity supplies to the largest Polish urban areas.
The Act was introduced in 2015 to speed up the lengthy procedures for building strategic sections of the power grid in Poland. In practice, the Act concerns the lines of highest voltage, owned by the national grid operator, Polish Energy Transmission Lines. The segments of the grid indicated in this law are of key importance to the energy security of the country. The most important tool created by the Act is the option of the faster and easier expropriation of land intended for construction (in return for adequate compensation, of course).
The recent changes extend the list of privileged investments to five planned power lines crucial for the uninterrupted supply of electricity to the biggest cities including Warsaw and Cracow. The priority is to ensure the output of the power generated in the newly built block of 1,075 MW in the Kozienice power plant. This will be achieved by developing one of the most important connections, which distributes electricity to the whole of north-eastern Poland. This issue affects over 8 million people.
The Polish electricity grid has been overloaded for many years. Modernisation of the old lines and the construction of new ones is important to ensure the stable development of the Polish economy. Unfortunately, numerous protests by local communities opposing power plants in their neighbourhood, as well as endless disputes over compensation for land expropriation, are effectively paralysing efforts to improve the Polish grid.
The new law will come into force on 8 April 2017.