ZE PAK, one of the leaders of Poland’s energy transition, and Ørsted, a leader of offshore wind energy, have signed an agreement and will jointly apply for location permits to build wind farms in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea. If they are successful, they will create a regional Fund for Just Transition in Eastern Wielkopolska with a budget of about 50 million PLN (10 million Euros) to help coal-dependent regions in Poland.

ZE PAK and Orsted felt that joining forces was a better solution than separately seeking locations in the Baltic Sea. ZE PAK is moving away from coal and must replace dirty coal capacity with clean energy by 2030. Ørsted, on the other hand, has so far developed the world’s largest portfolio of 28 offshore wind farms with a capacity of about 7.6 GW.

Forming a consortium with 50% of each company’s participation officially begins ZE PAK and Ørsted’s path to obtaining site permits for wind farms under the second phase of the market development, where the Polish government is expected to allocate 11 sites with a total estimated capacity of approximately 11 GW. Success in this administrative proceeding will clear the way for companies to participate in the planned auctions for Contract for Difference (CfD) support in 2025 and 2027.

– ZE PAK is one of the key energy companies in Poland, ensuring stable energy sources and supplies. We are the largest private power producer with a very ambitious plan to transition to green energy and green hydrogen. Investment in offshore wind farms is an important element of ZE PAK’s energy transformation, said Zygmunt Solorz, the main shareholder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ZE PAK.

ZE PAK employs 3,500 people and is the largest employer in Eastern Wielkopolska, a region particularly vulnerable to the effects of a low-carbon transition. As part of their energy transition in 2021, ZE PAK began production from Poland’s largest solar farm in the Wielkopolska region, built on the reclaimed land of a former lignite open pit. They have also invested in initiatives to build a comprehensive green hydrogen value chain.

What does the Fund for Eastern Wielkopolska assume?

Joint investments in offshore wind will be accompanied by socio-economic initiatives. One of them is the regional Fund for Just Transformation in Eastern Wielkopolska, established before the two companies. If the consortium is granted location permits, the companies will spend close to PLN 50 million (€10 million) on creating new jobs in the region affected by the coal phase-out, as well as on educational initiatives and the development of innovative green economy branches.

– When we get the license to locate the farms, we will produce and deliver cheap and clean energy to the people of Poland, and we will create a just transition fund for Eastern Wielkopolska. The Konin region itself and local communities will also benefit from our farms through tax revenue, said Piotr Woźny, President of ZE PAK Management Board.

The budget of the regional fund will be released in annual tranches, with the first tranche released as soon as the permit for the common location is received.