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The Warsaw Voice » Other » October 29, 2008
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Wind Farms Versus Polish Reality
October 29, 2008   
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The energy policy of the European Union promotes a move toward increased generation of energy from renewable sources. In Poland investors have recently shown greater interest in wind power energy. They are increasingly looking into the possibility of setting up wind farms in Poland, but are not always aware of the problems they could face.

The first step a developer has to take, of course, is obtain the right to the land on which the farm will be built. The most popular locations for wind farms are in rural areas. Due to the fragmented agrarian structure in Poland, developers need to realize that to build a wind farm, they may need to sign dozens or even hundreds of contracts with landowners. Before that happens, however, it may be necessary to clear up the land's legal status and find out who is legally entitled to dispose of a given plot. At this stage, problems could include the lack of a real estate register entry or outdated entries. In terms of unregulated legal status of real estate and land fragmentation, the situation is the most difficult in southeastern Poland.

Having secured the right to the land, a developer will often have to work on getting changes made to the local zoning plan, or even get the local authorities to pass one at all. Unfortunately many rural areas cannot afford to prepare such plans, while the law does not allow an investor directly to finance this work.

Another important issue is obtaining the technical conditions of connecting the wind farm to the power grid, and then signing a connection agreement. By defining the fees the investor has to pay, this agreement decides about a wind farm's profitability. This makes an early start to negotiations with the power distribution company an important consideration.

The final stage of preparation for completing a wind farm project involves obtaining a construction permit. To get one, developers need to obtain approval from various institutions, such as the administrative body dealing with aviation, bodies of water, forests, sometimes also the military and the border guards. The most important condition for obtaining a construction permit, however, is an environmental approval certificate. This document is the toughest of all to obtain because the developer has to prepare an extremely comprehensive report on the wind farm's environmental impact. Along with the conditions of getting connected to the power grid, this is another matter worth dealing with well in advance.

All this makes preparing a wind farm project far from easy, it takes time and work, and often requires help from specialists. All this early effort will be recouped, though, because it allows the developer to avoid unexpected complications at the wind farm's construction and operation stage.

Magdalena Wrońska
Attorney-at-Law, Partner, Lengiewicz Wrońska Berezowska i Wspólnicy Kancelaria Prawnicza, law firm

LENGIEWICZ WROŃSKA BEREZOWSKA I WSPÓLNICY Kancelaria Prawnicza s.c. l TEL. +48-22 826 30 33, 828 14 73; e-mail:lwb@lwb.com.pl
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