|Small solar energy projects are expected to benefit from the next wave of EU funds|
Poland has benefited greatly from European Union funding since its accession to the bloc in 2004. The current EU financial framework for the period 2007-2013 will see a total of €67.3 billion made available for businesses and entrepreneurs in Poland, the majority of which has already been allocated.
During this seven-year period significant amounts of money have been spent on infrastructure projects as Poland continues to modernize its roads and railways in order to bring itself up to speed with many of its European counterparts.
Other sectors which have been successful in gaining financing in recent years are those concerning innovative technologies and the “e-economy,” according to Mirosław Marek, vice president at DGA, an EU funds consultancy.
“Highly innovative projects have the best chance to receive financing, regardless of the sector,” he said.
But with the 2014-2020 budget currently under consideration, it is still uncertain how Poland’s funding could be affected in the future. Draft regulations for the new cohesion policy after 2013 – approved by the European Commission in 2011 – presume the allocation of some €336 billion to cohesion policy in the next EU budget. For Poland, this could translate into an inflow of EU subsidies worth €80 billion in 2014-2020.
In terms of advice for businesses looking to gain funding in the 2014-2020 period, the experts that WBJ spoke with predict that significantly less money will be available for infrastructure and construction projects. However, sectors such as renewable energy and R&D are expected to see an increased allocation of funds.
It has been suggested that EU funds allocated to wind farm projects could increase as Poland looks to reduce its reliance on coal as its main source of energy, and meet EU targets of producing 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
However, Tomasz Hoffmann, country manager for PNO Consultants Poland and managing partner for PNO CEE, which advises companies on acquiring EU funds, said that while wind technology may receive a boost, other renewable energies are likely to see the most benefits.
“We expect the budget for renewable energy to be enlarged. But this increase will most probably go in the direction of small-sized biogas and photovoltaic [solar] energy projects,” he said.
And for businesses looking to cash in on the next EU windfall, the advice from Poland’s consultancy companies is to start preparing now.
“Although EU financing is programmed on multi-annual basis, in practice there are only short windows of time for the companies to submit their applications. Companies should not wait with preparation of their development projects until the window is opened, since usually it will be too late to prepare a good project,” Mr Marek said.
“I think right now is a good time to start preparation of projects for the 2014-2020 period.”
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