Poland Wants To Inspect And Tax Wind Power, Industry Panics

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Poland’s conservative government wants to regulate wind power due to safety concerns and rising electricity bills, causing full-on panic in the wind industry.

The bill would let authorities shut down turbines for inspections and levy a tax on existing wind farms.

Naturally, wind lobbyists in Poland are panicking about the potential law. “For some projects, it will be terminal … it will kill them,” Wojciech Cetnarski, the president of the Polish Wind Energy Association, told The Financial Times Monday. “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.”

Another Polish law proposed last month would force new wind turbines to be built at least a mile away from homes or schools due to health concerns. The Association sent an open letter to the Polish Prime Minister last month fighting the proposed legislation.

Poland installed more wind turbines in 2015 than any other European country except Germany and has pumped more than $9 billion into the wind industry. The sheer number of turbines has created a domestic political backlash against them.

Theoretically, Poland gets about 13 percent of its electricity from wind; in practice however, the number is much lower. Globally, less than 30 percent of total wind power capacity is actually utilized due to the intermittent and irregular nature. Wind power tends to generate electricity at times of the day when power is the least needed, posing an enormous safety challenge to grid operators and making power grids vastly more fragile.

Even in comparatively progressive places like Vermont or Great Britain, wind farms tend to be aggressivly opposed by local residents.

The international growth of wind power will continue to slow, according to a 2015 report by the International Energy Agency. The wind industry is growing at its slowest rate in years due to changes in the structure of subsidies, issues with reliability, and consistently high prices.

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