In September 2016, the Ministry of Energy announced a general plan for the development of electromobility in Poland, with an initial draft act on electromobility and alternative fuels being announced on 27 April 2017. In October 2017 the Ministry of Energy published a revised draft act (Draft Act), which is significantly different from the initial version announced in April 2017. Below we focus on the new approach taken in the Draft Act to the development of a network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers and compressed natural gas vehicle charging stations.
Development of electric vehicle chargers by 2020
The Draft Act sets forth the minimum number of generally accessible electric vehicle (EV) chargers to be installed by 2020:
1,000 EV chargers in municipalities with more than one million residents where at least 600,000 vehicles are registered and there are at least 700 vehicles per thousand residents (in Poland these thresholds are met only in Warsaw);
210 EV chargers in municipalities of more than 300,000 residents where at least 200,000 vehicles are registered and there are at least 500 vehicles per thousand residents;
100 EV chargers in municipalities of more than 150,000 residents where at least 95 thousand vehicles are registered and there are at least 400 vehicles per thousand residents;
60 EV chargers in municipalities of more than 100,000 residents where at least 60 thousand vehicles are registered and there are at least 400 vehicles per thousand residents.
Heads of municipalities that do not achieve these thresholds should prepare reports by 15 January 2020 on the number and locations of all operating EV charging stations in their municipality and the number of EV chargers still needed to meet the minimum requirements for EV chargers set out in the Draft Act. If a report shows that the target number of EV chargers was not met by the end of 2019, the head of the municipality will have to prepare a draft plan for the construction of generally accessible EV chargers, setting out the number and location of EV charging stations in a Municipal Construction Plan (MCP). The local community will be consulted over the draft and it will have to be approved by the local electricity distribution system operator (DSO). The final MCP for EV chargers will then be adopted by the municipal council. Under the Draft Act, the obligation to implement final MCPs is assigned to local DSOs. It is up to the DSOs to construct EV charging stations and put them into operation in the number and locations specified in a given MCP.
The EV charging stations constructed by the DSOs on the basis of the MCPs will be operated by EV Charging Station Operators (CSOs). For the first year of operation of a charging station commissioned by a DSO, the president of Poland's energy regulator URE will appoint as operator an electricity trading company selling electricity to at least 40% of end customers in a given distribution system. However, for subsequent years of operation of an charging station, the CSO will be appointed directly by the local DSO. The DSO should carry out a public tender in line with the Act on Concessions for Works or Services of 21 October 2016*.
All costs incurred by the DSO in constructing the charging stations will be justified costs of business activity and as such can be included in the DSO’s tariff calculations.
In light of the revised Draft Act, the Ministry of Energy expects, at the initial stage that the network of EV charging stations will be developed by market participants. However, if the target number of EV chargers set out in the Draft Act is not met by the end of 2019, the DSOs will take over the obligation to implement the required network of EV charging stations. The implementation costs would be covered by the distribution service tariffs. This may in turn lead to an increase in final electricity prices.
Under the Draft Act, some of the key obligations of a CSO are:
to secure at least one charging service provider (supplier of electricity for charging electric vehicles) for each charging station
to execute an electricity distribution agreement with the local DSO
to guarantee, based on the equal treatment principle, access to an EV charging station for all interested charging service providers. If a CSO refuses to grant a charging service provider access to its EV charging station, it may face a financial penalty of between 5,000 and 150,000 złotys.
The Draft Act specifies the key points that should be included in an charging station access agreement between an CSO and a charging service provider.
Under the Draft Act, except for DSOs, other entities acting as EV Charging Station Operators are allowed to provide charging services for their EV charging stations.
Development of CNG vehicle charging stations
Under the Draft Act, from the beginning of the process to develop CNG vehicle charging stations, key obligations will be assigned to local natural gas DSOs (Gas DSOs), including:
to prepare a plan for the construction of CNG vehicle charging stations for all municipalities with at least 100,000 residents where at least 60,000 vehicles are registered and there are at least 400 vehicles per thousand residents;
to construct CNG charging stations and put them into operation in the number and locations specified in a given plan;
to appoint CNG Charging Station Operators on the basis of a tender conducted in line with the Act on Concessions for Works or Services of 21 October 2016*
All the costs incurred by a Gas DSO in constructing CNG charging stations will be justified costs of business activity and as such can be included in the Gas DSO’s tariff calculations.
CNG Charging Station Operators will be obliged to operate the CNG charging stations in accordance with the agreement with the Gas DSO and to sell CNG for the purpose of charging vehicles.
The Ministry of Energy is currently still holding inter-departmental consultations over the Draft Act, so at this stage it is difficult to say when the governmental work will end and when the Draft Act will be passed to the Polish parliament. However, on September 2017 deputy energy minister Michał Kurtyka announced that the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels should be passed as quickly as possible so that it comes into force around the beginning of 2018.
* Journal of Laws of 2016 item 1,920.