“In the past year or so, we have been very focused on transactional work in the renewables sector,” says Dentons Warsaw Partner Agnieszka Kulinska. “In addition to that, together with our banking and finance colleagues, my department has also handled a number of financing deals in the sector.”
Kulinska says much of the activity comes from changing political stances on renewable energy and Poland’s successful implementation of a renewable energy auction system to replace the green certificate system. In the new system, the government organizes an auction for renewable energy producers, who compete with one another on price. “The banks have regained faith in the market, after the auction system really kicked off in 2017,” Kulinska says, noting that the number of financing deals has increased significantly as a result. One such deal was the EUR 105 million financing of Qair Polska’s construction of four wind and 29 solar farms.
According to Kulinska, some of the most notable recent transactions she and her team have advised on included Green Investment Group’s acquisition of the Scieki wind farm, Stage Capital Management Limited and Mashav Energia’s sale of the Kanin wind farm, and CEE Equity Partners’ sale of a 163 megawatt project consisting of three wind farms to Iberdrola.
Looking into the future, Agnieszka Kulinska is optimistic. She believes that the renewables sector will continue to grow, not only because of the interest investors have shown in it, but also because of the political climate. “I would venture to say that the government has begun to realize that coal extraction is becoming increasingly expensive,” Kulinska says. “That is why the government will turn more and more to renewables as a way to reach the EU-set energy goals and to maintain electricity prices at a reasonable level.” She also expects the now-supportive political attitude to result in changes in legislation as well. She notes that Poland's 2016 passage of the "10H Distance Act," which banned the construction of wind farms near residential areas, made construction of new wind farms in Poland almost impossible outside of a handful of locations. However, as the draft amendment to the Distance Act has already been published, she expects the law to be changed soon.