Poland aims to ease windfarm law by year end - development min

Poland aims to ease windfarm law by year end - development min Marcin Bielecki/PAP

The government would like to conclude work on the legislative correction to the so-called distance act, which limits the development of Poland's onshore wind energy, by the end of this year, Deputy PM and Development Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz said on Friday.

The draft with corrections is currently under inter-ministerial consultations and will be sent shortly to the Council of Ministers, she told the gazeta.pl news portal.

At issue is a law, from 2016, authored by ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), which states that the minimum distance of the windfarms from residential buildings must be at least ten times the total height (ca. 2 km) of the wind turbines. The same applies to windfarms in the vicinity of national parks, nature preserves, landscape parks, Natura 2000 territories and cultivated forestlands.

"We are not giving up on 10H, introduced four years ago, but also after these four years we are gaining experience and we know that every stick has two ends," Emilewicz said.

She admitted that, on the one hand, the current regulations hinder investments in onshore wind energy and, on the other hand, "it had a very strong impact on the real-estate market in Poland as it inhibited the possibility of building housing at this distance."

Reiterating that according to the development ministry's draft, the tenfold rule for wind farm construction would be maintained, she explained the new law would allow, under specific conditions, to reduce it to a certain level, adding that "the precise distance would be known once the ministry received the expertise of experts."

According to her, this will be the first expert analysis of this kind in Europe, and it will help determine the minimum distance between wind farms and buildings which cannot be exceeded. The new regulations will also impose an obligation to consult zoning plans for the relevant communities.