Equinor’s First Solar Plant in Poland Ready

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 10/4/2022, Location: Europe

The construction of the 58 MW Stepien solar plant in Poland is completed, and the plant is ready for operation. Stepien was developed and will be operated by Wento, Equinor’s 100% subsidiary.

In 2021, Equinor bought the Polish solar developer Wento and its pipeline of solar projects across Poland. Less than 1.5 years after the acquisition, our first solar plant in Poland is ready for operation.

“With Wento, we are uniquely positioned to build a material solar portfolio in one of Europe’s most rapidly growing renewable energy markets.

During the first year of our ownership, we sanctioned construction of three solar plants in Poland with a total capacity of 171 MW. Today, we are proud to inaugurate our first solar plant Stepien, while the two other plants are expected to be ready in 2023-2024”, says Olav Kolbeinstveit, senior vice president for power and markets within Renewables at Equinor.

Stepien is located in the Braniewo municipality, part of the Warmia region in the north of Poland. Being one of the largest solar plants in Poland to date, Stepien comprises more than 100,000 solar panels over an area of around 65 hectares.

It will produce 61 GWh of power per year, which is equivalent to electricity consumption of 31,000 Polish households. By using local contractors during construction and operation, the project contributes to building knowledge and skills within solar developments in the Polish supplier industry.

Poland’s energy production is still dominated by conventional sources, including a high share of coal. This creates significant potential and need for domestic renewables that will help to decarbonize the energy system.

“Poland is going through a major energy transition and is actively developing domestic renewable energy to increase reliable power capacity and enhance energy security. Equinor aims to contribute to Poland’s aspirations by building a broad energy offering in the country, including onshore and offshore renewables”, says Michal Jerzy Kolodziejczyk, Equinor’s country manager in Poland.

Equinor plans to bring the electricity from the solar plant to the market through a power purchase agreement (PPA), thus securing predictable revenues and return on the investment for the plant. Equinor will include the electricity in its growing portfolio of power from renewables, capturing additional value from optimization and trading.

Equinor positions within solar
Equinor is in the process of building a profitable solar portfolio in selected markets.

• Equinor’s first step into solar energy was the 162 MW Apodi Solar plant in Brazil. Equinor has a 43.5 % share in Apodi along with operator Scatec. The plant started production in 2018.
• In summer 2022, early phase construction works started in the 531 MW Mendubim solar project, realized in partnership with Scatec and Hydro Rein. Equinor has 33.3% in the project. Financial close of the project is expected later this year

• Equinor has a 50% interest in the 117 MW Guañizuil II A solar project in Argentina. The plant is operated by Scatec and started production in July 2021.

• In 2021, Equinor acquired Polish solar developer Wento and its 1.6 GW pipeline of solar projects across Poland. The first solar plant Stepien was ready in October 2022, and two more are under construction.

Equinor in Poland
As part of our broad energy offering to Poland, Equinor is investing in growing Poland’s renewables energy industry. Company wants to strengthen its energy presence in Poland and continue to provide power by developing offshore and onshore renewables and support the Polish government on its energy transition path.

Since 2018, Equinor is engaged in the development of three large scale offshore wind projects – MFW Baltyk II and MFW Baltyk III (total capacity 1440 MW) with CfD granted by the Polish ERO in 2021, and MFW Baltyk I (1560 MW) that is at an earlier stage of development. These projects are developed through a 50:50 joint venture with Polenergia. Company also wants to continue to bring its vast experience in developing complex offshore wind projects to further develop the Polish offshore wind capabilities and project build out.

In 2021, Equinor acquired Polish renewables company Wento with a 1.6 GW solar project pipeline in Poland.

In 2022, Equinor signed a 10-year gas sales contract with Poland’s PGNiG to provide natural gas from the Norwegian Continental Shelf to Poland via Baltic Pipe.

Equinor in Poland operates from the main office in Warsaw and from the local office in Gdansk, employing leading experts engaged in offshore and onshore renewables projects development. The Company is also developing an O&M base in Leba for the Baltyk II and III projects.

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