Poland has the largest number of Operational Programmes in central and eastern Europe. Altogether, 24 programmes were prepared under the Polish Partnership Agreement, of which 8 are national and 16 regionals, complemented by European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg) programs. It should be noted that there is great variance in the support provided to energy communities amongst national and regional programmes. Our overall assessment is based on the average overview of all the programmes. All of the operational programmes have been already approved and their implementation has started. However, all payments from the EU remain blocked until Poland fulfils all enabling conditions necessary to release the funding.
General: allocation, definition, transposition
Specific allocation for energy communities
Energy communities are cited both in the national and regional polish programmes. In the national programme "EU Funds for Infrastructure, Climate, Environment", the language is weak and was only narrowly retained in the final text by the Government. Contrastingly, most of the Polish regional programmes are planning to include targeted support for energy communities. 15 of 16 regional programmes contain plans to support energy communities. In most cases support refers to strengthening RES, but in 4 programmes (Wielkopolska, Łódzkie, Dolny Śląsk, Małopolska) reference is also made to Territorial Just Transition Plans (JT). In two regions to energy efficiency (Wielkpolskie, Lubelskie), and in two other programmes investments are linked to grid modernisation (Śląskie, Dolny Śląsk).
Definition of energy communities in line with EU legislation
The Polish Operational Programmes do not contain a specific definition of energy communities therein. Instead, they refer to the RES Act (2015, as amended), which after numerous amendments provides for a definition of energy communities that relatively aligns with the relevant EU Directives.
Proportionality of share of total fund allocated to energy communities
There is no information about the specific budget allocated to energy communities within each programme. However, indicators in the regional programmes are unambitious. For example in the Wielkopolskie programme, 6 energy communities are foreseen to be supported, whereas in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie programme one energy community will be supported, until 2029.
Availability of tailored financing tools
Across the different Polish Regional Programmes, energy communities will be supported mostly with grants, but two regions (Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Mazowieckie) plan blended funding (grants coupled with loans) and loans.
Link to a wider scope of activities and objectives
Link between energy communities, building renovation and energy efficiency
Across the different Polish Regional Programmes, energy communities are mostly linked with renewable energy production as their main activity. Some Programmes partially mention a link between energy communities, building renovation and energy efficiency.
There are mentions of energy storage and energy efficiency in some of the Programmes (FEnIKS, regional: Wielkopolskie, Lubelskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie). Additionally, in the national programme FEnIKS and certain regional programmes (Dolny Śląsk, Śląsk) there are references to grids modernisation (in case of FEnIKS this is additionally linked with storage).
Recognition of energy communities under multiple objectives
Across the different Polish Cohesion policy programmes, energy communities are recognised under multiple objectives, including promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. In the Mazowieckie programme, they are linked with strengthening entrepreneurship. Finally, in the "European Funds for Modern Economy" programme, support for energy communities is planned under priority III - "greening of enterprises" (however, no further details are available presently).
Transparency and inclusiveness
Holistic strategy to provide financing across different levels of project development
Next to project development, different Polish Operational Programmes will support grid investments, such as the FEnIKS programme. Additionally, although grid investments are concentrated in national OPs, a number of regional programmes included them too: Dolny Śląsk, Śląsk.
Transparency of the design and communication of the schemes and measures
The level of inclusiveness during the programming phase varied significantly, with OP FEW2021+ serving as a good example of positive inclusiveness, while OP FEnIKS had a flawed consultation process. The Monitoring Committees are tasked with the responsibility of approving all selection criteria, although no calls for energy communities have been made yet. There is a lack of information regarding the planned support for energy communities, leading to a lack of public communication.
Selection criteria and the prioritisation of various social components
This information is not available yet.
Decentralised tender process
The regional programmes are managed by regional self-governments. Local and regional authorities are represented in Monitoring Committees, and can exert a direct influence on selection criteria.
Existence of procedures to facilitate the participation of energy communities in open calls
There are no procedures yet to facilitate the participation of energy communities in open calls.
Stability and predictability of the programme through time
This information is not yet available.