New rules for wind power investments getting closer


President Andrzej Duda has signed a law on wind power investments, which is expected to increase the participation of local communities in deciding on such investments. According to the Ministry of Climate and Environment, transparent rules for locating wind power plants will further improve the stability of Poland's energy mix, and incentives for local communities introduced in the wind power investment law will give a boost to the development of renewable energy sources in accordance with the will of local communities.

- Poles understand the role of renewable energy sources and want their development to ensure Poland's energy security. With the amendment, we wanted to increase residents' sense of security and strengthen their influence on investments. We are introducing technical supervision of installations. The current changes and the Law 10H, which preceded the amendment, were the result of the Supreme Audit Office's criticism of the way in which these investments were located. When introducing the legislation, we wanted them to be created in full dialogue with local communities - says Climate and Environment Ministry head Anna Moskwa.

The 700m rule

The regulations will facilitate the possibility to implement investments in onshore wind power plants in municipalities that are willing to locate such energy infrastructure, with maximum operational safety. The distance of windmill construction from residential buildings - not less than 700 m - will be changed. The law will also ensure that full information about the planned investment is provided to residents of the surrounding area, allowing windmills to be built in accordance with the will of the local community.

The local zoning plan will be able to determine the distance of a wind turbine from a residential building, taking into account the extent of the wind turbine's impacts, but taking into account the absolute minimum distance specified in the amendment - 700 m.

Mandatory public consultations

The basis for determining the required minimum distance from residential buildings will be, among other things, the results of consultations, or the mandatory strategic environmental impact assessment (which analyzes, among other things, the impact of noise emissions on the surroundings and the health of residents), performed for the draft local plan. An identical minimum absolute distance will apply to the location of new residential buildings in relation to an existing wind power plant.

The amendment allows participation of the local community in the benefits of locating a wind power plant in a given area. An investor in an investment involving the construction of a wind power plant will allocate at least 10 percent of the installed capacity of the wind power plant that is the subject of the investment to local residents.

Those interested will be able to obtain virtual prosumer status. Thanks to the proposed amendments, any resident who is a household end-user in a municipality where a wind power plant is planned to be built will be able, on a voluntary basis, to enter into an agreement with the investor to become a virtual prosumer on the basis of the agreement.