Publication date: January 09, 2024

Planned changes in the legal provisions on wind farms in Poland

The change of government in Poland brought about by the elections of October 15, 2023 pursues a liberal policy towards renewable energy. Already at the first session, the Parliament started working on the liberalization of wind energy law.

  • Direction of legal changes

The new ruling coalition declares liberalization of the law regarding wind energy. The aim of such action is the general development of regions through numerous windmill investments and increasing the amount of electricity consumed from green energy. Additionally, liberal legislation in this area will allow meeting the milestones needed to disburse financial resources from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Currently, the accelerated urbanization of cities combined with stricter regulations is causing investment stagnation in the area of building new windmills.

  • Planned changes

During the first session of the Sejm, the ruling coalition presented specific amendments to the provisions amending the wind farm law. According to the new assumptions, the minimum distance at which wind farms could be built from buildings will be reduced from 700 to 500 meters. In addition, the noise they generate will be a factor influencing the location of windmills. For noisy, larger turbines, the regulations will require that they be located more than 500 meters from the development, while their smaller and quieter counterparts will be able to be located at a distance of no less than 300 meters from the development. A similar regulation applies to the location of a wind farm in relation to national parks or nature reserves. The distance between the windmill and the nature protection area cannot be less than 300 m.

  • Facilitation for investors

The changes that will be introduced over the coming years will result in greater legal freedom in the construction of new wind farms. Investors will be required to maintain a different distance from buildings than before. In addition, the investor will be able to adjust the distance based on the noise generated by the turbines. Such liberal legislative actions will result in the initiation of many new investments aimed at the development of green energy.

  • Current problems when building wind farms

In the current legal situation, the legislator decided that wind farms should be located at a distance of ten times the height of the wind farm from the buildings (rule 10H). An exception to this is the local development plan, but in such a case the distance cannot be less than 700 meters. In addition, the legislator has regulated the permitted minimum distance from a national park (also rule 10H) and from a nature reserve, where the distance cannot be less than 500 meters.

  • Government proposals to enable the construction of wind farms

The government amendments aim to facilitate the construction of wind farms. The introduced changes will result in the removal of the currently applicable legal provisions (Rule 10H) and replacing them with provisions that make their location dependent on the sound intensity they generate. Additionally, it will be possible to locate windmills no less than 300 m from residential buildings.

KIELTYKA GLADKOWSKI KG LEGAL advises on offshore energy investments in Poland and energy transformation projects.

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