The new law (USTAWAz dnia 20 maja 2016 r. o inwestycjach w zakresie elektrowni wiatrowych) with regulations for wind farms has been implemented in Poland in July 2016. So far there was no legislation regulating the location and conditions with respect to the location and construction of such facilities. As a result, the farms are often located very close to residential areas. The new law stipulates regulation for wind power plants with a capacity greater than 40 kW, so it is not applicable to micro turbines.
The new law stipulates a minimum distance between wind farms and residential areas and natural protected sites. New turbines can be build only when the distance from the nearest residential buildings or natural protected sites (national parks, nature reserves etc.) is at least ten times the total height of the wind turbine. In theory this means a distance of about 1.5 -2 kilometres. In practice it turns out that there are very few places in Poland where new wind farms can be build. So far the average distance was 550 meters, for smaller turbines even less. Another issue is technology – higher turbines are more effective. Under the new legislation, the danger exists that old technologies are favoured over new technologies, generating more expensive energy. As Poland is still a coal reliant country (Poland is generating about 85 percent of its electricity from coal), slowing down the development of the wind energy sector seems to be a decision, aiming to curb this booming industry while simultaneously strengthening the mining industry.
The new law might imply a window of opportunity to invest in offshore wind farms. A current, investment in offshore wind power is increasing. Polenergia Group is planning to build a farm of 117 square km. It will be situated on Baltic sea, 23 km from the Polish coast. Companies seem to look at offshore wind power as a good alternative to onshore farms, as the productivity of the sea farms are twice better than the onshore and the location is not so controversial. The first Polish offshore wind farm is projected to be operational in 2021.
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 Poland’s wind market was one of the strongest performers in 2015, second in the EU, only to Germany.