Administrative law

Unlocking investments in wind energy in Poland

Wind energy in Poland

Wind energy in Poland developed dynamically until 2016, when restrictions were introduced to the act on investments in wind farms of May 20, 2016, in particular the so-called the 10H rule, according to which wind farms can be placed at a distance of at least ten times the height of the power plant from residential buildings.

As a consequence, from 2016 until now, the above limitation actually prevents new investments, blocking the development of ecological sources of energy.

Draft act unblocking wind energy in Poland

Taking into account the EU’s climate goals and the ongoing political and economic changes on an international scale, influencing the rising coal price and the related negative social effects, it is necessary to unblock investments in wind energy in Poland. It is worth noting that renewable energy sources are an opportunity for permanent independence from Russian resources.

For these reasons, the draft act on amending the act on investments in wind farms of May 20, 2016, which was submitted by the Minister of Climate and Environment, adopted by the Council of Ministers on 5 July 2022 should be assessed positively.

New rules for locating a wind farm in Poland

The basic principle of locating a new wind farm, according to which such a facility can only be built on the basis of the Local Spatial Development Plan, will be maintained, but in a much more flexible version.

The obligation to prepare a Local Spatial Development Plan or to change it for the purposes of the investment will apply only to the area of ​​the forecasted impact of the wind farm<, and not to the (much larger) area designated in accordance with the 10H rule, as previously. In addition, the Local Spatial Development Plan will be able to define a distance of the wind farm from the residential building other than the one determined by the 10H rule, taking into account the range of the wind farm's impact, but with an absolute minimum distance of 500 meters. The basis for determining the distance of a wind farm from residential buildings will be, among others, the results of the strategic environmental impact assessment, including e.g. the impact of noise emissions on the environment and the health of the inhabitants.

Public authorities in the commune where the wind farm is to be located will be obliged to organize at least one public discussion with the residents within 30 days of adopting the resolution on the preparation of the local plan.

The draft amendment to the act on investments in wind farms of May 20, 2016, adopted by the Council of Ministers on 5 July 2022, is a positive step towards unblocking investments in wind energy. At the same time, the above change may be considered insufficient to achieve the desired climate and energy goals in the short term.

Author team leader DKP Legal Michał Puk
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