The municipalities are waiting for new windmills. They count on cheap electricity and extra income

We keep our fingers crossed that the new regulations can be adopted as soon as possible, although we will probably only see them after the holidays – says Leszek Kuliński, the head of the Kobylnica municipality and president of the Association of Renewable Energy Friendly Municipalities. – It is important that the nonsensical rules that block the opportunity to invest in wind energy disappear as soon as possible – he emphasizes.

The 10H rule does not disappear

The hope for change is that the government finally passed a draft amendment to the Wind Farm Investments Act last week. The amendment does not assume that windmills can be placed anywhere, the regulations in this area will remain quite demanding. However, it entails some regulatory liberalization and gives local authorities more power in this area.

And so the draft foresees maintaining the 10H rule, which states that the distance between new wind farms and residential buildings must be at least ten times the height of the turbines (this rule, introduced by the PiS government in 2016, blocked in in practice the construction of new wind farms). In addition, wind electrons may only be located where this is provided for in the local spatial development plan (Local Development Plan).

The local government will decide

However, after appropriate assessments of the impact on the environment and the health of residents and mandatory consultation with residents and other stakeholders, the local government can reduce the distance from the wind farm to the residential building (to a minimum of 500 meters). † And municipalities that do not have room for investments in wind farms in their MZPP can change the plan and the investor can finance the preparation or amendment of the plan.

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The Instrat Foundation estimates that such regulatory liberalization could increase land availability for wind investment more than 25-fold, from the current 0.28 percent. to 7.08 percent area of ​​Poland. And if the amendment goes into effect, some wind investment boom can be expected as many projects “frozen” related to the introduction of the 10H rule in 2016 could finally be completed. For example, EDFR is ready to quickly start up projects with a capacity of more than 250 MW. PGE in turn has frozen projects with a capacity of approximately 150 MW. Analysis by the Polish Wind Energy Association shows that projects with a capacity of 4.1 GW across Poland have been halted at various stages of progress.

Where the wind blows

Where can this type of investment be located? Where it blows the most. The research shows that the best wind conditions are in northwestern Poland, including in the Suwałki region or in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship Province. But thanks to technological advances, wind turbines begin to produce energy at an average wind speed of 4-5 m / s, so the area of ​​​​potential investment is expanding.

The company OX2 estimates that there are great wind conditions, for example in the Lublin province. The regulatory liberalization could result in an additional 200 installations in the region, compared to the 100 existing ones, and the total potential of areas suitable for the construction of wind farms is approx. square kilometers, ie 8 percent of the area of ​​the region. – Activating at least part of this potential would give the Lublin region real energy security and independence from Russian resources – said Paweł Malarz, project manager at OX2. In his opinion, 10-20 wind farms in 20 municipalities can be built in the region.

Local authorities say yes

Local authorities will of course play a major role in seizing these opportunities. Fortunately, it seems that local governments are sympathetic to such investments.

– In our municipality we have two turnkey wind projects with a total capacity of 100 MW. But we are counting on more – a “frozen” project and another four. The company that plans to do it is waiting “on the starting blocks”. If successful, together with the solar park under construction, we could produce so much electricity that it would probably be enough for the entire region – says Leszek Kuliński, mayor of Kobylnica Municipality (Pomeranian Voivodeship). And he emphasizes that all municipalities of the Association of Sustainable Energy-friendly Municipalities are waiting for the liberalization of the regulations.

– Of course, such investments cannot limit residents’ rights, but it seems to me that in recent years, including the shock on the energy price market, people realize that renewable energy is the most effective and cheap energy source – he emphasizes.

Extra income

In addition to cheaper energy, economic arguments can also be important for local authorities. – Wind electricity should be seen as an opportunity for the development of local societies. On the one hand, it is clean and cheap energy from wind, and on the other, budget revenues, which enable investment in the service of the local community – emphasizes Piotr Dragan, mayor of the municipality of Wisznice (Lubelskie Voivodeship).

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– From the perspective of economic benefits, new wind farms have the opportunity to generate additional income for local governments from property taxes and other taxes, as well as create new jobs – says Janusz Gajowiecki, president of the Polish Wind Energy Association.

PWEA analyzes show that thanks to the increase in onshore wind power by e.g. 3.5 GW in the 25-year period of their operation, local and central budgets will gain in total more than PLN 4 billion, i.e. PLN 165 million on average per year. year. About PLN 3.5 billion will be transferred to the treasury of the self-government thanks to property taxes paid by wind investors, while another PLN 600 million will be income tax. During the three-year construction period of wind farms, approximately 20,000 temporary jobs can also be created and approximately 1,750 permanent jobs during operation.


Witold Cyba, the mayor of the municipality of Borzytuchom

We are very interested in wind energy in our municipality, especially in terms of cheaper energy sources and environmental protection. Any additional income for the municipality is also important. I am pleased that the government is moving towards regulatory liberalisation, we want to take advantage of new opportunities, although of course the road to the goal can be bumpy. In our development plans for 2013, we have room for five wind farms. Now we will try to adapt them to the new environment. In my opinion, the majority of residents are interested in renewable energy development, we will try to convince everyone as part of the public discussion.

Maciej Pluto Prondziński, Deputy Mayor of Studzienice . Municipality

It must be admitted that the topic of wind farms is quite controversial in terms of social approval and the approach of pro-ecological organizations, for example to ornithological issues. But we are open and we will try to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the proposed regulation. Our municipality joins the energy cluster together with other municipalities from our region and the Staatsbossen. We are more focused on getting energy from the sun, but we are also considering where the wind farm could be built without exposing the local community and the natural environment to the negative effects of the turbines.

Katarzyna Kozioł, Head of Investment and Spatial Management Department, Potęgowo . Municipality

We have 30 wind farms in our municipality and 26 are under construction. The proposed amendment to the law will undoubtedly stimulate the further development of this sector in the municipality and at the same time contribute to the release of land for housing. We are already getting questions from investors about the possibility of locating new wind farms, as well as from residents interested in housing development. The proposed changes are a good step towards the investment development of the municipality, new power plants represent significant revenues for our budget in the form of taxes, while at the same time safeguarding Poland’s energy sector.

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