Last year we wrote about the works of the Ministry of Development and Technology (hereinafter also: MDT) on the draft amendment to the so-called Act 10H providing for the reduction of restrictions resulting from the rule determining the minimum distance of a wind power plant from residential buildings and forms of nature protection. MDT announced that thanks to the amendment new wind power plants will be built, wholesale electricity prices will be reduced and the local and national economy will be stimulated. As it turns out, we will have to wait a bit longer for the eagerly awaited changes.
Main objective of the project – reducing the 10H rule
According to the current wording of Article 4 of the Act of 20 May 2016 on investments in wind power plants, the so-called 10H rule applies in Poland, according to which onshore wind power plants may be located at a distance of at least ten times of the plant’s height from residential buildings, which significantly hinders the construction of new wind power plants.
The draft amendment provides:
- reduction of the minimum distance to 500 metres – more if it results from the adopted protection zones in the Local Development Plan (LDP) or from an environmental decision;
- an obligation for additional consultation with the local community regarding the choice of location for a new power plant;
- raising standards in technical supervision of wind power plants.
Delays in works on the project
According to earlier information provided by the Ministry, the draft was to be submitted to the Sejm in March this year. Originally, there was even talk of the bill being passed by the Sejm in the second quarter of 2021.
A public consultation on the draft amendment took place in June 2021. One of the arguments raised after they were carried out by the government was that as much as 85% of Poles support wind energy development.
In mid-December 2021, the Joint Commission of Government and Self-Government gave a positive opinion on the project. Since then, despite widespread support for the project, work on the law has stalled.
The project has not even been discussed during meetings of the Council of Ministers.
At the end of April 2022, the draft amendment was transferred from the Ministry of Development and Technology to the Ministry of Climate and Environment for further legislative work, which from now on will be the responsibility of Ireneusz Zyska, the government’s plenipotentiary for RES. However, there is no information as to when the draft will be submitted to the Sejm. According to media information, the Ministry expresses “(…) hope that in this half of the year it will be passed by the Parliament“.
Following the change of host of the project, according to a release from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, works and analysis are currently underway to fast-track the project for consideration by the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers.
Objectives of new proposals
The project of regulations related to 10H is aimed at modifying the provisions that will allow for new investments in the erection of wind power plants and thus the development of these investments in Poland.
It is worth noting that according to the analysis of the National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 of 30 December 2019 by the Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW), onshore wind energy is currently the cheapest energy source in Poland.
Its development not only helps to reduce the carbon footprint, but is also a remedy for ever-increasing energy prices. New wind farms are springing up:
- creates new jobs;
- stimulates the Polish economy;
- leads to an increase in municipal revenues from property taxes.
The benefits of the amendment also include the unblocking of residential construction in the vicinity of power stations.
Furthermore, the development of wind energy will allow Poland to become independent from, for example, raw materials purchased from Russian suppliers, which is particularly important in view of Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine. Therefore, we hope that the work on the draft amendment will be completed quickly and that new opportunities will arise for RES investors in Poland.
Karolina Barałkiewicz-Sokal, attorney-at-law (PL)
Paulina Czaja, LL.M., trainee attorney-at-law (PL)