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Poland brings wind works to standstill with $131 million at risk

Poland’s law restricting the proximity of turbines near homes is bringing the wind-energy industry to a standstill, according to environmental researchers.

At stake are more than 500 million zloty ($131.4 million) spent by investors to date on developing wind projects, according to a survey published on the website of Ambiens sp. z o.o. Environmental consultants last month polled developers of 1,008 turbines with planned capacity of at least 2 gigawatts, according to the researcher.

“The new bill practically makes it impossible for the industry to further develop amid the distance requirements,” Ambiens Chief Executive Officer Michal Kaczerowski said in the report. In Poland, a requirement to build wind farms at such a distance “is too demanding, unfounded and bad.”

As the European Union’s top coal producer, Poland is a staunch defender of the fossil fuel’s use inside the bloc. The government has introduced extra requirements for constructing new turbines and doesn’t view wind energy as a stable source of power.

Poland’s law requires new turbines be located no closer to homes than a distance equivalent to 10-times the height of the masts. Almost all the projects surveyed failed to meet the new distance requirement, Ambiens said.

Last year Poland installed the continent’s second-most wind-power with developers adding 1.26 gigawatt of new capacity. It currently has 5.6 gigawatts of installed wind capacity.

Poland’s Energy Ministry spokeswoman Iwona Dzygala didn’t have an immediate comment when reached by phone on Wednesday.