On 8 February, Poland’s lawmakers in the lower chamber (Sejm) approved the controversial amendments (700-metre rule) of the 10H liberalisation bill, despite strong opposition from industry representatives.
If adopted, wind farms in Poland will be able to be built at a distance of no less than 700 metres from residential areas. The government’s originally proposed amendments in July 2022 would enable municipalities to cut the restriction to 500 metres between homes and wind farms.
“Today Sejm adopted a draft law on investments in the field of wind farms. These regulations support the voice of the local community and introduce safe rules for the construction and maintenance of windmills,” the Polish Climate and Environment Minister, Anna Moskwa tweeted.
According to estimates from the Polish Wind Energy Association, restricting the regulatory framework to 700 metres could discourage potential investors and block around 60-70 per cent of future wind power investments in the country.
“This bill is a legal hoax. Many municipalities have already prepared spatial development plans for wind farms. This bill means that the already prepared farm construction projects will have to be prepared again, which will extend the whole process by 8 to 10 years. The result will be a lack of development of onshore wind energy in Poland,” President of the Polish Wind Energy Association, Janusz Gajowiecki said, following last night’s vote.
As Mr Gajowiecki told CEENERGYNEWS last week, the lack of a “proper amendment” to the 10H bill may also block Poland’s first advance payment from the country’s EU Recovery and Resilience Plan. As reported by the Polish News Agency (PAP) the 700-metre amendment fulfils the “milestones” for Poland to unlock the EU’s Covid-19 recovery funds, according to Minister for EU Affairs, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.
The 10H bill will now make its way to the upper chamber (Senat). As the Senat is controlled by a coalition of opposition parties, it is unlikely that any potential amendments during this legislative stage will be approved in its final reading by the Sejm.