Poland adopts limits on where wind farms can be built
By Paul Homewood
Poland has adopted a new law banning construction of wind farms close to dwellings and hiking project costs in a move which the industry says could hobble Poland’s move to renewables and away from coal.
Wind farms must be built at a distance from housing of at least 10 times the height of the turbine, or about 1.5 to 2 km, under the law which was adopted by the lower house of parliament on Friday.
The new regulations will also result in higher property taxes for wind farm owners, which the industry says could trigger bankruptcies.
"As a result, wind farms will disappear from the Polish landscape," said Wojciech Cetnarski, head of the Polish Wind Energy Association.
Czech utility CEZ, which is developing wind farm projects in Poland, said that if the law was enforced it would be forced to write down the value of some of its Polish assets and would consider seeking potential compensation.
Representatives of Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), which designed the new regulations, said that it had to reform regulation of the industry and address citizens’ complaints about noise from wind farms.
"Because of the renewable energy madness we are reducing our GDP growth," Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said, referring to subsidies granted to renewable energy sources.
European Union rules call for Poland, which generates most of its electricity from highly polluting coal, to produce 15 percent of it from renewable sources by 2020 versus around 12 percent currently.
PiS says the new regulations will not pose a risk to Poland attaining that target.