A significant part of existing onshore wind farms in Poland may have been built while ignoring public consultations, says a report from the country’s Supreme Audit Office (NIK).
Although the report stresses that wind energy is seen as a chance to make Poland greener, NIK has a negative opinion about the process of building onshore wind farms in Poland.
A report released on the NIK website states that local authorities have in many cases ignored protests from local communities, with no referendums undertaken to ensure approval from local residents.
Bribery and corruption?
However, the report also showed that investors were sometimes linked to employees of local government offices. In the majority of analysed cases, authorities asked for donations from investors or other financial support in exchange for issued wind farm construction permits.
In about one third of the municipalities inspected by NIK, wind farms were located on land belonging to councillors and employees of local authorities, while these people had not been excluded from the decision-making processes.
The audit office believes that the lack of strict legal regulations is largely to blame for the situation.
The report includes a number of recommendations to change the law regarding the construction of wind farms, with specific suggestions on the decision-making process and on environmental regulations, such as the level of noise and the proximity of housing areas.
Onshore wind farms still only form a fraction of Poland’s power generation. The number of turbines has, however, risen from just 301 in 2009 to 835 in 2013, and is expected to grow further. (kw/jb)