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Poland

Poland

Poland limits wind development with new law

POLAND: The new government has passed legislation imposing onerous minimum distance requirements for new wind farms, and raising the property tax burden for all wind energy investors.

The new law strikes a severe blow to the prospects of what had been a promising wind energy market
The new law strikes a severe blow to the prospects of what had been a promising wind energy market

The law was proposed by MPs in the governing Law & Justice party, which has favoured coal over renewables, and was approved by the lower house of parliament, the Sejm, on 20 May.

It stipulates that wind farms must now be located at a minimum distance of ten times the turbine's height from houses and natural protected sites, in practice about 1.5-2km, criteria that observers say very few sites will be able to meet.

The law also extends the property tax paid by wind farm investors to the investment value of the entire turbine.

The new legislation strikes a severe blow to the prospects of what had been a promising wind energy market. It comes after a banner year in which Poland added more new wind capacity than any other country in Europe, besides Germany.

The final version of the law no longer mentions the possibility of prison sentences for infractions and also does away with a measure that would have required wind farms to renew operating permits both mentioned in draft versions of the legislation.

"The effect of the bill will be a complete elimination of new wind power projects from Poland," the Polish Association of Wind Energy said.

Poland's energy mix remains more than 80% coal, relying on fossil fuel deposits that are estimated to last decades. The government has also recently bailed out the largest coal company in the country.

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