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Polish draft wind act: US, German investors, national coal unions call for amendments

Calls continue to grow for the Polish lower chamber (Sejm) to reverse its amendments to the draft 10H Act from the proposed minimum distance regulations of 700 metres to 500 metres. Over the past few days, global corporations and relevant industry bodies as well as Poland’s coal labour unions have urged Polish policymakers to reconsider the 700-metre proposal.

Last week, the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, the Polish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Google, BOSCH and Siemens called on Poland’s Prime Minister and the Parliament to seize the potential of green energy to foster further business growth and create new jobs in Poland. “For our companies, investments are a priority in the markets where green electricity is easily accessible,” the call addressed to the Prime Minister and the Parliament said.

In the joint statement, the international companies based in Poland emphasised that without green energy, the Polish economy is exposed to a loss of competitiveness and market attractiveness.

Marta Pawlak, Head of Legal and Public Policy at the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland said: “It is crucial for American companies investing in Poland that Polish law accommodates the needs of business. As regards renewable energy sources, regulations should implement solutions fostering energy efficiency, decrease the costs of green transition, support investments and foster new jobs. The minimum distance of 500 metres ensures optimum growth of onshore wind. Interference with provisions approved by way of broad consultations is a message to foreign investors about the lack of regulatory stability of the Polish market.”

Polish coal unions: unlocking wind power potential is ‘crucial’

On Monday (6 March), two Polish coal mining unions joined the calls for the proposed minimum distance rule to be reversed back to 500 metres, the Polish News Agency (PAP) reported. “We look forward to green energy as an opportunity to create new jobs. Well-educated employees with extensive professional experience are already sought after by companies operating in the renewable energy sector, including the wind industry,” the unions said in their appeal to the Prime Minister and the Sejm.

The unions also emphasised that maintaining the new liberalised wind power regulatory framework with the 700-metre rule could be a missed opportunity for attracting new investments, creating jobs and ensuring a just transition.

At a press conference on Monday, the government’s spokesperson, Piotr Müller said: “What will be the final shape [of the act] – it depends on the Sejm. Based on my knowledge, the consensus that was developed at the previous session of the Sejm should be maintained.”

According to growing speculation, the 700-metre amendments may present a major hurdle in unlocking Poland’s funds from the NewGenerationEU budget. A vote by the Sejm on the draft wind act is expected to take place during the current parliamentary sitting (7-9 March).

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