Interview | Michal Kaczerowski, CEO, Ambiens

29 April 2020

Ambiens is a Polish environmental consulting company, working as a lisaison between investors, administration and local communities and environmental circles, and geared around renewable energy sources. 

 

Can you give an overview of Ambiens and the presence you have in Poland, as well as where you observe most demand coming from?

We have been supporting the renewable energy sector since 2008 and have grown into a team of over ten people here in Poland. We are primarily targeting our advising and services towards the wind energy space, onshore and offshore, but we also cover large PV projects.

I believe that there is great potential both in the wind energy and PV space. The offshore segment is expanding at an exponential pace, and we expect to see an ever growing demand moving forward. Poland aims to reduce its dependency on coal and is currently in a transition phase to greener and cleaner sources for energy generation. 

For the wind community, the 10H rule is currently the most pressing topic. Do you believe that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel soon?

I believe that we will see an amendment to the 10H rule, for sure, and the government has already been busy drafting one. We hope to see changes implemented asoon as posible but not later than the end of 2020. 

 

In my opinion, we do not need any specific rules dedicated to wind energy space as we already follow European environmental standards. Wind turbine projects should be treated as every other investment in Poland with EU frames, on a case by case basis, and I believe that environmental impact assessments (EIA) are enough to keep every stakeholder satisfied.

 

One of our main services includes ensuring dialogue between all the parties involved. Communicating with local communities are key. We should also remember that further wind development as a RES driver in Poland could be a part of strategy against economic consequences of coronavirus pandemic. We need more energy and this energy should be clean and cheap. Wind sector is also stable job market.

Indeed communication often holds the key to different stakeholders reaching consensus – what have been some of the main concerns voiced by the community, and what do you see as the path forward?

Today we have to look at wind energy differently than in the past, the stakes have changed, and the question on our minds is how to encourage further development. There is capital, developers and investors are waiting for the amendment of the 10H rule, and Poland needs the wind energy boom to reach the goal of less CO2 emissions. Of course, nuclear is also a clean option. The challenge is the length of time and capital needed to develop compared to windfarms, which take approximately six year, and PV, which take around three. I believe that Poland should be able to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, as is the ambition of the EU at large.

 

The earlier a line of communication with the community is established, the better it will be for the project as then there is time for proper discussions. 

In my experience if the project is well communicated to the community, misconceptions are eradicated and they are more open to collaborate as they understand the benefits.  

 

The offshore law draft is after public consultation, are you expecting it to be passed soon?

In all energy industry developments, we need to be looking further than the first step and think about and prepare for the future potential of projects. The rules and regulations being put in place now will be guiding the industry for the years to come. I believe that the offshore law, together with the maritime spatial plan, need to encompass a long-term vision to best develop offshore wind farming.

I trust that this offshore “bible” will be passed within 2020 as there is no more time for delays. Poland can afford to be an important global offshore wind market and a leader on the Baltic.

Do you believe that the grid is ready to take in the renewable energy that is currently being developed?  

I believe that we understand the potential of offshore wind energy and how to support this industry, but we should also think about collaborating with partners in the Baltic region as to be able to transfer energy across borders within the region.

 

We need to find the best way to change our energy sector in the next years, and we need to find solutions to develop power transmission and distribution.

 

What are Ambiens’ key objectives for the next three years?

Ambiens is supporting the development of renewables and also power transmission lines and are preparing permitting and EIAs for these kinds of investments. We also offer due diligence services as well as supporting post construction phases of projects. We have the objective to grow our team in Poland and will remain focused on this market for the time being. We develop consulting services as an independent advisor or partner of international law firms and corporations. There is immense potential in every renewable sector in Poland. 

Do you already have a sense of how the COVID-19 outbreak will be impact your business/the energy sector in the short term, and have you already taken any measures?

A pandemic strongly affects everyone and hinders day-to-day business operations. For renewable industry it mainly concerns isolation and social distancing, which hinders efficiency and could affect schedules.

 

It appears that coronavirus has dealt kindly with the renewable industry compared to other sectors. I am aware of how powerful this crisis is for other industries though, and I keep my fingers crossed for everyone and recommend mindfulness in mutual help or purchasing decisions.

 

At Ambiens, we consistently implement our previous development strategy. We service the tasks entrusted to us timely, and they are increasing. We've signed several new contracts and hired two new consultants during the pandemic. Online recruitment was a challenge, but new specialists were selected and implemented. Life has moved to the internet, it's natural for us because we're partly a virtual team working remotely. However, I miss normality, meetings with clients, business partners and events. I lack interpersonal relationships.

I hope that we are slowly beginning to settle in new realities and return carefully to activity. I wish you health and good luck.

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