The draft act amending the act on investments in wind farms and some other acts has been entered into the list of legislative works of the government, and its adoption is expected in the second quarter of this year, according to published information. The person responsible for developing the project is Anna Kornecka, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Development, Labor and Technology.

The main assumptions of the project:

  1. Maintaining the basic principle of locating a new wind farm, which states that a new wind farm may only be located on the basis of the Local Spatial Development Plan (MPZP). However, the obligation to prepare a local development plan or to change it for the purposes of the investment in question will apply to the area of the projected impact of the wind power plant, and not the entire area designated in accordance with the so-called The “10H rule” (ie for an area within a radius defined by ten times the total height of the designed wind farm).
  2. The basic minimum distance of the wind farm is maintained – the distance cannot be less than that determined in accordance with the “10H principle”. However, taking into account the limitations of one rigid distance principle, a more effective approach in this respect is to make the above-mentioned flexible the distance principle and giving more power to determine the location of wind farms to individual municipalities as part of the planning procedure for changing the local development plan developed for a new wind farm. In line with the above, the local development plan will be able to determine a different distance of the wind farm from the residential building, taking into account the range of the wind farm’s impact, taking into account the absolute minimum safety distance specified in the draft amendment. The basis for determining the required minimum distance from residential buildings will be the results of the environmental impact forecast (which includes the analysis of, inter alia, the impact of noise emissions on the environment and the health of residents) performed as part of the dedicated MPZP wind farm or its changes. In the local development plan prepared for the area around the future wind farm, the adopted distances should take into account the actual requirements resulting from the above-mentioned forecasts. The same minimum absolute safety distance will apply to the placement of new residential buildings in relation to the existing wind farm. The distance of a new residential building from the wind farm cannot be similarly smaller than the minimum distance specified in the act.
  3. The final distance from residential buildings will be verified and determined under the procedure of issuing by the Regional Director for Environmental Protection (RDOŚ) in the decision on environmental conditions for a given investment based on a detailed environmental impact report, while maintaining a new minimum safe absolute distance from residential buildings, which will be indicated in the act. According to the draft amendment, it will be possible to issue additional detailed regulations on guidelines for RDOŚ and municipalities regarding the study and determination of the impact of wind farms and their maximum levels.
  4. The possibility of the above-mentioned making the minimum distance by municipalities more flexible will, however, be associated with additional rights in the field of consultation of municipal residents (during public discussions). For this purpose, the regulations on the location of wind farms introduce an obligation for the commune to organize additional public discussions with the participation of interested residents over the local development plan, which provides for the boundaries of land for the construction of wind farms and solutions regarding the location of the planned wind farm. Additional public discussions will also concern the developed draft changes to the above-mentioned Local Plan. In addition, the deadlines will be extended and the rules governing the presentation of public viewing and acceptance of comments to the local development plan and environmental impact forecast will be extended.
  5. The draft act provides for the introduction of additional obligations regarding technical activities necessary to ensure the safe operation of the key technical elements of wind farms, which will be implemented by the Office of Technical Inspection. Therefore, in order to ensure safe operation of wind farms, it is planned to introduce periodic, cyclical certification of companies that service technical elements of wind farms (taking into account, inter alia, the personnel, their competences and authorizations). The purpose of introducing certification is to reduce the risk of accidents caused by improper use of technical elements of a wind power plant. A dedicated register of entities that can provide this type of service will be kept. Moreover, it will be verified whether the operator of the wind farm uses the services of a certified service.