During consultation meetings with municipal councils of Smoldzino (22nd of October), rural municipality of Ustka and city of Ustka (29th of October) representative of the investor – Polenergia Bałtyk III Sp. z o.o. has presented the assumptions for the planned offshore wind farm Middle Baltic III (pl. Bałtyk Środkowy III; OWF BSIII). Consultations were organized as part of the education and social communication campaign for the OWF BSIII conducted by the Foundation for Sustainable Energy (FNEZ).
The main topics discussed during the debate were related to the scale of potential benefits to coastal municipalities and the impact of wind turbines on the landscape. Regarding the former, the investor pointed out that according to a macroeconomic analysis commissioned by Polenergia the development of OWE sector in Poland can bring significant profits to the coastal regions. It is estimated that with the development OWF at the level of 6 GW of installed capacity (according to the Polish offshore wind energy and maritime industry development programme elaborated by FNEZ such level is economically feasible by 2030), around 77,000 jobs will be created in Poland, including 10,500 in coastal regions. Approximately 1,300 people will be employed during the operational phase, which in the case of wind turbines at sea lasts about 25 years. Development of the offshore wind industry will also provide added value to the Polish GDP in the order of 14.7 billion zł, of which approximately 50% (7.3 billion zł) to Pomeranian, and Westernpomeranian region. According to investor’s estimates, OWF BSIII alone, during the operational phase, will increase employment in the coastal region by about 260 jobs directly related to O&M of wind turbines, not to mention the indirect and induced jobs and economic benefits associated with related businesses (hotels, logistics, tourism, catering etc.)
Referring to the concerns related to the impact on the landscape the investor pointed out that according to Polish law, wind turbines must be located at a minimum distance of 12 nautical miles (about 22.2 km) from the shore, thus protecting landscape heritage of coastal areas. The OWF BSIII is located about 23 km from the coastline, therefore the visibility of wind turbines from the mainland will be insignificant even in ideal weather conditions, which was confirmed by a series of visualizations available on the project website www.baltyk3.pl. The investor also underlined the experiences from the UK and Denmark, where the presence of offshore wind farms has not affected the tourism sector in a negative way, and even proved to be beneficial due to introduction of new tourist attractions (e.g. information centers, deep sea fishing, boat trips in the vicinity of the farm ).
Apart from consultation meetings open days for the community were organized in the aforementioned municipalities during which representative of the investor answered questions of the residents.
Last consultation meeting and open day for residents will be conducted in November this year in the municipality of Łeba.