The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has put out a statement concerning proposed legislation in Poland that would restrict the building of new turbines in one of Europe’s strongest wind energy markets.
Poland’s wind market was one of the strongest performers last year – second only to Germany – installing a total of 1.3 GW in new capacity as developers pushed forward on projects, according to EWEA. To date, the wind industry in Poland supports over 8,000 jobs and generates $153 million in revenue each year.
EWEA says it is concerned by proposals from the Polish Law and Justice ruling party to restrict the siting of new wind turbines and impose stringent permitting procedures in a new draft law. The draft legislation suggests that the minimum distance between households, buildings or nature reserves should be at least 10 times the total height of a wind turbine.
The average height of a wind turbine – from base to blade tip – is between 140 meters and 160 meters. This would mean that most modern wind turbines would need to be located at least 1.5 km away from any residential zone or protected natural area.
“This is a clear statement of intent from the governing party in Poland,” says Giles Dickson, CEO of EWEA. “The draft law proposed is deeply troubling. It will tie new projects up in red tape and make life hard for existing wind turbines that do not meet the legal demands.”
Other measures in the draft law include a long and drawn-out permitting process. If granted, new permits would last only two years before requiring renewal. Any planned repairs or maintenance would also require consent. In addition, the developer would be liable to pay service fees to the technical authorities, according to the draft law. Non-compliance with any of these processes could result in a hefty fine or even imprisonment of up to two years.
“The law has set out a lengthy and expensive permitting procedure that would hinder the development of projects in Poland and effectively deem new projects unviable,” adds Dickson. “Imposing these rules will damage investor confidence and put the brakes on future deployment in a country with huge potential.”