Who doesn’t like Polish wind power?
Despite the fact that the price of investment in onshore wind power is dropping massively as its efficiency surges, turbines are still unwanted in Poland. If it weren’t effectively blocked by unfavourable legal regulations, wind energy would create a chance to increase the importance of renewable energy sources. What is the reason for wind power’s bad image in Poland and who is suffering most as a result?
At the end of 2019, the total installed capacity of onshore wind farms in Poland was 5.9 GW. As a result of auctions held at the end of last year alone, about 2.2 GW of new wind power was contracted. The lowest auction price was PLN 162.8 per MWh (1PLN ≈ 0,25 USD on 02/06/2020), which is a continuation of a long-term downward trend in the cost of this technology. At the same time, energy from wind turbines proved to be half as cheap as energy from coal. Taking into account the variable costs of energy production and the cost of CO2 emissions, the price of electricity from new coal-fired power plants can reach as much as PLN 350 per MWh.
Despite the increase in production and price efficiency of onshore wind turbines, they have been effectively hampered by legal regulations for several years now. In 2016, the so-called Distance Act was adopted in Poland. The law stipulates that wind turbines with a capacity of more than 40 kW can only be built at a distance of at least 10 times their height (including the rotor with the blades) from residential and mixed-use buildings, as well as areas of high environmental value. This rules out the construction of modern wind turbines which, due to their size, would require a radius of about 2 km from any residential buildings, which is practically impossible in Poland. According to experts from the industry, the regulation makes it impossible to build new wind farms on 99 percent of the country’s territory.