Poland simplifies procedures for investing in electricity grids

Available languages: PL

On 3 September 2023, Poland enacted new regulations designed to significantly shorten and simplify administrative procedures for investments in electricity distribution grids. The new rules are expected to expedite investments in Poland’s grids, which require upgrading due to the connection of new generation sources.  

The following article outlines the most important changes introduced by the amendment.

Extension of the application of the Special Transmission Act

Because the previous regulations provided facilities for investment in transmission grids, Polish legislators decided to extend the application of these provisions to investments related to distribution grids with a voltage rating of 110 kV or higher. The condition is that these grids must be functionally linked to strategic investments in transmission grids.

To this end, the amendment that just went into force introduces a definition of an accompanying investment, which – as the justification for the legislation indicates – enables changes in the current legal state to be kept to a minimum. This is expected to foster an appropriate degree of legal certainty for entities carrying out obligations or exercising rights under the provisions of the Special Transmission Act.

List of investments of existing infrastructure

The amendment also changes the annex to the Special Transmission Act, which is a list of strategic investments in transmission grids, by:

  • adding new projects (e.g. the Harmony Link investment, which is a connection between the transmission systems of Poland and Lithuania); and
  • expanding its application to distribution grids with voltage equal to or higher than 110 kV, crucial for the transfer of electricity from the transmission grid to distribution grids.

At the same time, the  Council of Ministers has been authorised to issue a resolution specifying a list of accompanying investments for the reconstruction or repair of existing electricity lines in the distribution grid with a voltage equal to or higher than 110 kV. These investments will be a vital step in the modernisation of existing lines, which  will be key to regional development and ensure adequate flows of electricity in the distribution system.

Rules for preparation and implementation of strategic investments

Chapter 5a was also added to the Special Transmission Act, which specifies the rules for the preparation and implementation of strategic investments in distribution grids and lists the investor as the distribution system operator within the meaning of the Energy Law, implementing these investments.

The amendment introduced improvements in the expropriation of real estate with unregulated legal status, as well as in case of an absence of data in the real estate cadastre that would make it possible to identify the personal data (and particularly, the residential address) of the owner or the perpetual usufructuary of the real estate. In addition, for the implementation of these investments, provisions of the Special Transmission Act will also apply regarding the possibility of requesting entry onto someone else's property to carry out the work necessary to prepare an environmental impact report for a strategic investment in the transmission grid.

Removal of the time limitation for applying the Special Transmission Act  

According to the amendment, the provision has been repealed that temporary restricted the application of many of the provisions on grid investment simplification until 31 December 2030. In the view of Polish lawmakers, this repeal was necessary and justified because of the expansion of the list of investments that can benefit from facilitating the investment process. Once the amendment enters into force, this restriction will be lifted, allowing for the permanent application of simplified procedures for the implementation of strategic investments in transmission and distribution grids.

For more information on this amendment and the implementation of electrical grid investments in Poland, contact your CMS partner or these local CMS experts.