New law threatens survival of Polish wind power industry

A new bill submitted to Poland’s parliament threatens the very survival of the wind energy industry in the country.

The bill will make it illegal to build wind turbines within 2km of other buildings or forests — a measure campaigners said would rule out 99 per cent of land — and quadruple the rate of tax payable on existing turbines — making most unprofitable.
Wind turbines
Another clause in the bill would give authorities the power to shut down each turbine for weeks at a time during monthly inspections, said industry figures. Violations would result in hefty fines or two years’ imprisonment. 

The threatened legislation would represent a complete reversal of the progress made by the industry in Poland last year when it saw the largest amount of installed wind turbine capacity in the EU after Germany, taking total industry investment to €8bn. Turbines, including those owned by EDF, RWE and Eon, produce about 13 per cent of the country’s electricity.

“For some projects, it will be terminal … it will kill them,” said Wojciech Cetnarski, president of the Polish Wind Energy Association, an industry lobby group. “This will result in bankruptcies. That is for sure. No one will invest any more in this country’s wind energy industry if this law is passed.”

Poland’s wind farm capacity has risen to 5,400 MW from 83 MW in the past decade. Some campaigners worry that Poland will fall short of EU rules demanding 15 per cent of electricity be obtained from renewable sources by 2020.

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