Wind farms in Poland and "10 H rule"
Investments in renewable energy in the field of onshore wind energy in Poland began to decrease significantly from 2016. This was due to the adopted unfavourable legislative solutions consisting in, among others, on the introduction of the so-called the "10 H" rule, according to which wind farms in Poland could not be placed closer to buildings than 10 times the height of the planned windmill. In practice, the above rule resulted in an almost complete blockade of investments in onshore wind energy, as it was impossible to meet the above requirement in relation to a large area of the country.
Expected changes to Wind Energy Policy
In view of the ongoing discussions around the Polish National Reconstruction Plan and the requirements imposed on the Polish government by the European Commission, parliamentary work were launched in order to relax "10 H" rule and to unblock new investments in wind energy in Poland.
Draft Amendment to Polish Wind Act
On July 14, 2022, the Polish Parliament received a draft amendment to the Act on investments in Wind Farms (Poland) of May 20, 2016 (commonly referred to as the "Polish Wind Act" or "Distance Act"), prepared by the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland.
On January 13, 2023, the Marshal of the Polish Parliament first Chamber - Sejm - referred the above draft to the first reading in the following parliamentary committees: the Committee on Energy, Climate and State Assets and the Committee on Local Government and Regional Policy.
According to media reports, the draft act is to be discussed by the Sejm at the next meeting scheduled for January 24 - 26, 2023, which means that there is a chance for the act to be adopted quickly by the Polish parliament and the long-awaited unblocking of investments in onshore wind energy.
Summary of expected amendments to Wind Energy Act in Poland
Considering the above, it is necessary to pay attention to the key amendments that are planned with respect to relaxing the strict rules of the Wind Farm Act of Poland:
- the wind farm will be located only based on the local spatial development plan, adopted in Poland in the form of a resolution of the commune council,
- the distance of the wind farm from the residential buildings remains equal to or greater than ten times the total height of the wind farm, in accordance with the "10 H" rule, however, the local spatial development plan adopted by the commune may specify a different distance, but not less than 500 meters; communes can therefore locate investments at a distance of 500 m from residential buildings,
- the investor carrying out the investment consisting in the construction of a wind farm allocates at least 10% of the capacity to be covered by the residents of the commune,
- residents of the commune, where the wind farm is to be built will be able to become virtual prosumers by ordering up to 2 kW of power for 15 years, for which they will pay a price proportional to the maximum unit construction cost of the power plant calculated according to a special formula.
In January 2023, legislative work began in the Polish parliament to unblock investments in onshore wind farms. The liberalization of the current restrictions has been long awaited by the energy industry, climate organizations and the public opinion. Changes in the law will create opportunities for new investments in Renewable Energy in Poland. It shall be mentioned that further simplifications are expected with regards renewable energy investments, incl. simplifications with regards to: land purchase, company registration, employment of experts and introduction of tax incentives.
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