Polish law violates EC directive - WindEurope

POLAND: The wind industry's trade body is calling on the European Commission (EC) to investigate the draft turbine distance law for being 'disproportionate' and in breach of the Renewable Energy Directive.

Poland's president: Andrzej Duda of right-wing Law & Justice party

The Polish lower house in Parliament passed a law last week, which would impose a minimum distance requirement between wind turbines and buildings of ten times the turbines height – in practice, approximately 1.5-2km.

Observers say the criteria would limit the number of possible wind sites in Poland.

Property tax paid by wind farm investors would also be increased to encompass the value of the entire turbine.

WindEurope (formerly EWEA) has called on the EC to take a close look at the law, arguing that it breaches the Renewable Energy Directive.

Article 13 of the directive states: "Member States shall ensure that any national rules concerning the authorisation, certification and licensing procedures that are applied to plants and associated transmission and distribution network infrastructures for the production of electricity... from renewable energy sources... are proportionate and necessary."

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: "This proposal appears to contradict EU law on renewable energy, notably by imposing disproportionate and punitive measures through red tape.

"The EU Institutions need to examine this closely," he said. " The new law deliberately aims to undermine onshore wind. If this legislation is passed, it will send investors running for the hills and paralyse deployment of new wind farms in Poland.

"The Polish economy would suffer. Poland needs new power plants, and onshore wind will soon be cheaper than coal," he added.

The draft legislation comes after a strong 2015 in which Poland added more new wind capacity than any other country in Europe, besides Germany.

The new Polish government, elected in late 2015, has expressed a preference for biogas, which it sees as a more stable power source, and has also indicated it could push geothermal power. Poland also has large coal reserves.

A vote on the legislation by Poland's upper Senate house is expected between 8-10 June, WindEurope said.