Wind of Change: Sejm Commences Works on the 10H Act

by dbereza

Wind of Change: Sejm Commences Works on the 10H Act

by dbereza

by dbereza
Draft amendments to wind energy regulations, including the governmental draft aimed at liberalisation of the so-called 10H rule, were submitted for the first reading in the Sejm’s State Assets and Local Government Committees on Friday. The government announced express procedure and finalisation of works on the Act during the next Sejm session — unblocking onshore wind is one of the milestones.

The Sejm commenced works to unblock onshore wind in Poland. Draft legislative acts applicable to location of onshore wind farms (two by the Senate, three parliamentary drafts and one governmental draft) were submitted for the first reading in the Energy, Climate and State Assets Committee and the Local Government and Regional Policy Committee.

“As regards wind energy, we plan to continue the works during the next Sejm session, as actually this is a one, actually a second important draft in the context of the National Recovery Plan. There is a governmental self-amendment in that respect. I hope the matter will be closed during the next Sejm session,” said governmental spokesman, Piotr Müller, in Sejm on Friday.

In accordance with the schedule, the next session of the lower house of the Polish Parliament will be held in two weeks, on 25 and 26 January.

“Unblocking onshore wind is a strategic decision for Poland’s energy security and economic growth. Therefore, it is no surprise that the entire wind industry, but also other industries, local governments and the community expect the share of green electricity from wind in our system to increase. It will not only increase our independence from Russian fuels, but also contribute to lower electricity bills. Today, electricity from wind is 5 times less expensive than from conventional fuels, and new onshore wind farms mean more green and inexpensive electricity and lower electricity bills, said Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association.

The governmental draft amendment to wind energy legislation has been submitted to the Sejm in mid-July 2022. It specifies that decision-making powers regarding the possibility to build new onshore wind farms and to unblock residential development in the vicinity thereof will be vested in municipalities. Amendments to the 10H Act are one of the 37 milestones that must be achieved by Poland to comply with the requirements stemming from the Recovery and Resilience Facility to launch funds under the National Recovery Plan.

The new act assumes that municipalities and local communities, through local spatial development plans, will decide if wind farms will be allowed in their territory. Moreover, the new regulations are to ensure appropriate supervision over the process by municipal authorities and local communities as well as appropriate operational safety of wind farms, and to keep residents of municipalities where wind installations are to be located fully informed.

On 13 December 2022 the government adopted a self-amendment to the draft wind energy act. It added solutions enabling participation of local communities in benefits stemming from the construction of wind turbines in a given area. Currently, the substantive scope of the act covers the participation of a municipality’s inhabitants in benefits stemming from the location of wind turbines. Therefore, a definition of installed capacity and municipality inhabitant was added.

The changes include the addition of a new Article 6h, which assumes that an investor implementing an investment consisting in the construction of a wind turbine is to allocate at least 10 percent of installed capacity of the wind turbine subject to the investment to be assumed by inhabitants of the municipality to enable them to become virtual prosumers. It has been emphasized that the proposed amendments will enable each inhabitant being a final customer in a household on the area of a municipality where the construction of a wind turbine is planned to voluntarily conclude an agreement with the investor to become a virtual prosumer thereunder.

Benefits are just round the corner

Apart from bringing security, onshore wind development increases the pace of the Polish energy transition and brings a number of benefits for the economy and the community. A report by the Polish Wind Energy Association[1]demonstrates that, in the best development scenario, new wind farms will guarantee PLN 70–133 billion of GDP growth, PLN 490–935 million of additional revenue foe local governments, approximately PLN 80 billion of orders for products and services in the supply chain and from 51 to 97 thousand new jobs in the 2030 perspective.

When the amendment will become effective and unblocks new investment, we could have from 6 to 10 GW of new onshore wind capacity by 2030. This would bring the country’s total to 18–20 GW. Considering the potential, within several years we could become completely independent from coal or gas imported from Russia. The key is onshore wind development. The technology would secure our energy independence,” said Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association.

Increasing awareness of environmental benefits stemming from onshore wind development is no less important. Studies demonstrate that more than 80% of Polish citizens want further development of onshore wind farms — the source of inexpensive and clean electricity.