Polish ruling party reins in plan to spur wind power investments

WARSAW, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Polish ruling party moderated draft legislation to relax some of Europe strictest rules on developing wind farms, backtracking on a government proposal that had aimed to more than double the existing capacity.
Boosting wind farm investment is a milestone Poland has to pass to unlock billions of euros of European Union recovery funds.

Existing rules have practically blocked land for investment in new turbines since 2016, when the ruling Law and Justice Party mandated that wind turbine plants should be a minimum distance of 10 times their height away from residential buildings.

While the government last year tabled a proposal to radically reduce that minimum distance, the ruling majority amended it higher again on Thursday in the parliamentary committees, a move likely to deter investment.

The amendment will result in slashing potential onshore wind investments by 60-70%, effectively discouraging them, Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW) said in a statement on Thursday.

“We are very disappointed with a change that comes after two years of consultations of the compromise proposal” Janusz Gajowiecki, head of PSEW, which groups some 150 investors, told the committees.

Depending on the pace of investments, between 6,000 and 12,500 megawatts (MW) of new wind capacity could have been added by investors in Poland by 2030, according to the initial government draft. Poland now has almost 8,000MW of installed wind capacity.

The draft needs to be approved by both houses of parliament and signed by the president to become law.

Reporting by Marek Strzelecki
Editing by Bernadette Baum

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