On Wednesday, Poland President Andrzej Duda signed the Spacer bill into law.
The Spacer Act limits the possibility of the construction of wind turbines by introducing a provision on minimum distances of wind turbines from residential buildings. Wind power plants will now be put at a distance of not less than 10 times its height (with the rotor and blades) from residential buildings and areas particularly valuable from the environmental point of view (eg. National parks and nature reserves or landscape). Under the law, existing windmills that do not meet the criterion of distance, can not be expanded and will only be allowed renovation and and other work required for proper use. In addition, the construction of wind power would be possible only on the basis of the local zoning plan.
The new regulations apply to wind power plants with a capacity greater than 40 kW, which does not include micro-installations.
Such restrictive regulations do not exist in other European countries. Average distances used for the construction of windmills on households in Europe are 400-600 m, which maintains standards for noise. In most countries, moreover, the question of the location of wind turbines is not rigidly determined by the rules, and is associated with an acceptable level of noise.
Protest against the bill came from representatives of the renewable energy industry as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the Supreme Court , Polish Chamber of Civil Engineers and Association of Rural Communes of the Republic of Poland . In mid-April. Warsaw hosted the demonstration in defense of wind energy in Poland , which brought together approx. 2,000 people protested against the government action.
The PiS politicians responsible for the spacer bill argued that the new regulations are necessary to ensure the health and safety of people living near wind turbines. The government did not however take account of the opinion of the Ministry of Health, which in response to a parliamentary question, admitted that there are no scientific studies proving the harmful effects of infrasound from wind turbines on human health.
Associations representing the renewable energy sector may appeal the act under the Investment Act to the Constitutional Court thus raising doubts as to its constitutionality.
The Spacer law will take effect 14 days after the announcement.