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Wind industry calls on European Commission to scrutinise new Polish wind law

The wind energy industry is calling on the European Commission to look closely at Poland’s proposed law to restrict the siting of wind farms.

Under the new legislation, which was passed by Poland’s lower house last week, wind farms would have to be built a minimum distance from residential areas of at least 10 times the size of the turbine – in effect a length of about 2km. The constraint would exclude 99% of the Polish territory from wind energy development.

The new regulations would also increase property taxes on wind farms fourfold. The industry says such restrictions would kill new investment in the Polish onshore wind sector. The version of the law passed by the lower house omits the references to prison sentences and service fees that were in the original text. The law has now passed to the Senate which has 30 days to adopt it.

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

He added: “The EU Institutions need to examine this closely. 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.”

Mariusz Mielczarek, Director of Government Affairs and Policy in Central and Eastern Europe for GE: “These changes in legislation create uncertainty and curtail investment. Political engagement and a long term vision are key to an efficient energy policy and a business friendly environment. GE are ready to serve customers’ needs in Poland with our diverse portfolio but without a clear political vision or stable regulatory framework, long term investment predictability will be lost.”

Poland’s wind market was one of the strongest performers last year – second only to Germany – installing a total of 1.3GW in new capacity. The wind industry in Poland supports over 8,000 jobs and generates 600 million zloty in tax revenue for the government each year.

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