Energy & Enviroment /

Changes in planning and spatial development – obstacles for RES investments

In March 2023, the installed capacity of photovoltaics in Poland exceeded 13 GW, according to data published by the Energy Market Agency S.A. This represents an increase of more than 40% compared to last year. However, upcoming changes to the planning and zoning regulations may hinder further development of the RES industry in Poland.

Local plan for large-scale renewable energy installations

Pursuant to the proposed amendments to the Spatial Planning and Development Act, a change of land use concerning non-building-mounted renewable energy installations located:

(a) on agricultural land of class I-III and forest land,

(b) on agricultural land of class IV with an installed electrical capacity of more than 150 kW or used for the business of generating electricity,

(c) on land, other than that indicated in points (a) and (b), with an installed electrical capacity greater than 1000 kW.

will only be possible on the basis of the local zoning plan in force in that area.

Such a change will mean, in practice, that the location of any large photovoltaic installation will require the municipality to first adopt a local plan permitting such an investment. Even assuming a favourable attitude of the municipal authorities towards a potential RES developer in Poland, the procedure for adopting the plan may prolong the investment itself even by several years.

In the opinion of the Minister of Development and Technology – the author of the draft amending act – the location of high-power RES should be carried out through local plans in order to preserve spatial order and counteract social conflicts.

Simplified procedure and Integrated Investment Plan

In order to meet the needs of RES developers to simplify the investment process, the Ministry has prepared amendments allowing:

  • the application of a simplified procedure for the adoption of the local plan by the Municipality consisting, inter alia, in the omission of the stage of submitting applications to the plan, the possibility of simultaneous arrangements, opinions and public consultations, as well as shortening the deadlines for consultations, arrangements and opinions on the draft plan;
  • the adoption by the municipality, in cooperation with the investor, of an Integrated Investment Plan for RES investments, based on a previously concluded urban planning agreement between the municipality and the investor.

So far, the RES industry has been rather critical of the proposed changes. A potential problem is perceived as to what extent the municipalities will be able to efficiently prepare local plans allowing for the location of new photovoltaic installations in a short period of time. The adoption of a local plan generates additional costs for the municipalities. Above all, the municipalities will have to replace the existing study with new master plans by the end of 2025, which will require the commitment of the municipalities above all in this area.


The draft amendments to the Planning and Spatial Development Act are currently being processed in the Sejm. Its entry into force will bring new challenges for the RES industry, in particular developers of photovoltaic installations.

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Author team leader DKP Legal Marcin Kręglewski
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