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The future of wind farms in Poland

New regulations on wind farms investments limit their construction

Before long the new act on wind power plants investments comes into force.

The new regulations allow location of the wind farm only on the basis of local zoning plans. The problem is that in Poland enacting of these plans is still rather an exception. This results mainly from the costs associated with their development and long-term process of adoption. Currently, only approx. 30% of the Polish territory is covered by such zoning plans.

A significant change in the construction of wind farms concerns the allowable distance in which they can be localized. This distance will have to be at least ten times the height of a wind farm including the impeller’s wings. For example, the turbine with height of 200 meters will be able to be built at the minimum distance of 2 kilometers from the other buildings or forests. Therefore the Polish regulations differ from the similar standards in other European countries, where the distance is shorter and associated with the generated noise levels.

Another problem that is associated with the new regulations is the method of calculating the real estate tax by the municipalities. Currently, it is unclear whether the tax should be charged on all wind farms elements or just on its construction parts, i.e. their foundations and masts
(which constitute approx. 30% of the investment’s value). The change of the method of calculation of this tax could have the effect of increasing the costs of producing of this energy.

It is estimated that the Polish taxes on wind power plants make annual inflow to the state budget of approx. PLN 600 million. The municipalities, where the wind farms are located reach annual average inflow of approx. PLN 1 million. The changes shall in short term perspective result with the increase of this tax income, although will probably reduce the inflows both to the State Treasury and municipalities budgets in future, if less new wind farm investments will be established.

It should be mentioned that there are critical opinions according to which the Polish provisions infringe the EU legislation, through the introduction of regulations regarding the Polish market for renewable energy sources that are not adequate and necessary. It should be also noted that in 2020 the 15% of the energy consumed in Poland should come from renewable energy sources.

In 2015 the Polish wind energy market in regard of its dynamic of development fared worse only in comparison with the German market. The wind energy sector in Poland employs more than eight thousand people and its annual tax contribution to the budget amounts approx. PLN 600 million.

 

Source: Act of 20 May 2016 on wind farms investments, (J.L. 2016, item no. 961)