Parliament passes less ambitious distancing rule for onshore wind farms

Marcin Bielecki/PAP

The Sejm, the lower house of Poland's parliament, has restored its less ambitious distancing rule for onshore wind farms, keeping it at 700 metres.

The country's former distancing rule, introduced in 2016, required the distance between a wind turbine and the nearest houses to be at least ten times the maximum height of the device (the so-called 10H rule). This seriously curbed the development of wind turbines in Poland and spurred the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to include a loosening of the rule as one of the conditions, or 'milestones,' for the disbursement of some EUR 35 billion in EU post-pandemic funding for Poland.

In order to meet the condition, the government prepared a bill specifying a 500-metre minimum distance, but the Sejm increased it to 700 metres. Subsequently, the Senate brought the distance back to 500 metres, but the amendment was rejected by the Sejm on Thursday, which concluded the parliamentary legislative process.

However, the legislation keeps the 10H rule as the minimum distance to national parks.

Additionally, the investor will have to offer at least 10 percent of a wind farm's installed capacity to local communities in the virtual prosumer formula.

The bill will now go to the president for the final signature.