Poland has proposed a law that could turn wind farmers into criminals

Poland was once seen as a major emerging market in clean energy, but its government has other ideas.

The right-wing Law and Justice Party, elected last October, proposed legislation this week which would severely restrict the building and maintenance of wind farms in the country — with prison sentences for anyone who doesn’t comply.

According to renewables.com, the law would force a wind farm to be built away from any residential property at a distance of more than “10 times the height of the wind turbine,” which effectively translates to over 1.5 km. For a nation of 38.5 million people this is much easier said than done, and a number of turbines may already contravene the law.

Furthermore, the cost of securing a new permit for constructing a wind turbine from the Office of Technical Inspection will be significantly increased, while all existing wind farms will face audits every two years.

Overall, the law would raise annual wind farm overheads to 150 million zloty (£26 million, $37.6 million) even if no new wind turbines were ever built again, reports Bloomberg. Oliver Joy, from the European Wind Energy Association, told them the plans are “arbitrary,”and were designed to tie the burgeoning industry in red tape. “The draft law is a clear statement of intent and should not be allowed to stand,” he added.

Although the government declined to comment on the proposal, analysts believe it is worried about new installations creating unrest in communities and wants to quell clean energy lobbying.

Although Poland is Europe’s top coal producer, it also built the second most number of wind installations last year. Whatever future clean energy has in Poland, these plans will be seen by many as the Law and Justice party imposing its authority even more.

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