Poland’s thriving wind energy industry has warned that it faces bankruptcies, rapid divestment and an end to growth under a bill that threatens executives with prison.
The wind power sector in Poland installed the largest amount of turbine capacity in the EU last year after Germany, taking total industry investment to €8bn. Turbines, including those owned by EDF, RWE and Eon, produce about 13 per cent of the country’s electricity.
But proposals submitted to parliament by the ultraconservative rightwing administration will tighten regulations to the point of killing off the industry, critics have said.
“For some projects, it will be terminal . . . it will kill them,” said Wojciech Cetnarski, president of the Polish Wind Energy Association, an industry lobby group. “This will result in bankruptcies. That is for sure.
“No one will invest any more in this country’s wind energy industry if this law is passed.”
The bill will make it illegal to build turbines within 2km of other buildings or forests — a measure campaigners said would rule out 99 per cent of land — and quadruple the rate of tax payable on existing turbines — making most unprofitable.
Another clause in the bill would give authorities the power to shut down each turbine for weeks at a time during monthly inspections, said industry figures. Violations would result in hefty fines or two years’ imprisonment.
Foreign investors are already viewing the bill with alarm.