Press release: 14 December 2022
Unlock onshore wind now or face €1.3bn loss to economy, Polish government warned
Energy experts at ClientEarth have warned that unless the Polish government removes legal blocks to onshore wind by the end of this year, the Polish economy will likely face a €1.3bn hit by 2030 from punishing energy prices. The findings come from a new report, commissioned by the lawyers, from Aurora Energy Research.
Poland currently has a prohibitive rule on where onshore wind can be developed, based on its distance from other buildings – the so-called ‘10H’ rule – and this has effectively blocked any new onshore wind since 2016.
In Poland, power from onshore wind is currently four to five times cheaper than coal power. Recent polling revealed that voters from across the political spectrum, representing around 80% of the population, are in favour of the distance law being wiped.
The draft amendment that could lift the block on onshore wind has been ready for months, but has so far not made it onto the Polish Parliament’s agenda. There is still time before sessions finish for the year to make the move – and prevent the multibillion-Zloty impact.
ClientEarth senior lawyer Wojciech Kukuła said:
“Unlocking onshore wind is one of the most pressing issues in Polish politics today. More than one million families in Poland are experiencing energy poverty and urgent action is needed to reduce energy prices.
“Failure to amend the distance law in December means not only higher energy prices in the years to come, but could jeopardise billions in vital EU recovery funding – one of the conditions for Poland accessing the funding is enabling onshore wind.
“The government coalition must break the political deadlock around wind turbines as soon as possible and change the law later this year. This will dictate what the national economy looks like in the years ahead.”
Filip Piasecki, Polish market expert at Aurora Energy Research, and co-author of the analysis, said:
“The only blockage to onshore wind power today is the 10H rule – profitability is not an issue. Our analyses show that wind projects are viable today even without additional support schemes. We expect that once the 10H rule is dispensed with, the installed capacity of onshore wind sources will increase threefold compared to today. These investments are profitable for investors, but more importantly, each additional GW of wind capacity will translate into reduced energy costs for the economy as a whole.”
According to the analysis, each year of delay in amending the distance law will mean 1.5GW less wind capacity in 2030. Putting the legislative decision off for another two years could nearly double the impact on the economy in 2030 to 13 billion Zlotys – or €2.3bn.
ClientEarth also points to the opportunity cost of spending 7 billion Zlotys on overpriced fossil power over the next seven years – for that money, around 90,000 Polish homes could be insulated and equipped with heat pumps and solar power.
 Based on latest RES auctions and power prices in Poland. Sources: TGE, URE, WysokieNapiecie.pl
Notes to editors:
- It takes around three years to build new wind farms, so the billions of dollars in savings that the study is looking at accumulate between 2026 and 2030. If the decision to abolish the '10H rule' is still taken in December, the first new wind farms will start producing electricity in 2026.
About Aurora Energy Research
Aurora Energy Research is a leading energy analytics company present globally. Founded in 2013 by Oxford University professors, Aurora builds and uses in-house energy market modelling systems. Using these systems, it creates long-term fundamental price forecasts for commodity and electricity markets, supporting more than 600 leading companies and institutions in key strategic and investment decisions around the world.
ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.