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Monday, March 4, 2024

Land use reform may hold back the development of photovoltaics

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We are already struggling with protracted procedures, whether environmental or the lack of connection possibilities, and here we are still getting a law that will significantly slow down and stop the development of photovoltaics in Poland – said Marta Głód, director of photovoltaic projects development at OX2, on TVN24 BiS . According to Irena Gajewska from the Polish Photovoltaic Association, “we will all suffer from the changes”.

On Friday, the Sejm passed the Spatial Planning and Development Act. It introduces a new planning tool – the general plan, which is to replace the current study of the conditions and directions of spatial development of the commune. Its findings will form the basis of to adopt local plans.

The new regulations introduce major changes for investors from the market renewable energy sources. The RES industry is alarming that the act may limit the development of photovoltaics in Poland and hopes for amendments in the Senate.

– The government has taken over. The zoning reform was long awaited. It is difficult to argue with this need, because the act has not been amended for 20 years. However, these cleanups also affect the RES industry, including photovoltaics, and may slow down the pace of energy transformation in our country. This is because we are dealing with an unfavorable time for introducing new solutions that both business and local government administration must learn – said Irena Gajewska, vice-president of the Polish Photovoltaic Association.

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The act will stop the development of photovoltaics in Poland

Marta Głód, director of development of photovoltaic projects at OX2, explained what changes could harm the development of photovoltaics in Poland.

– From September we expect the entry into force of the new planning act, which says that all photovoltaic farms above 145 kW must be located on the local plan. Previously, for there to be a local plan, it must be a general plan, which is to replace the currently existing studies of spatial conditions. This must be done by the commune by the end of 2025. All communes must find funds from their own budgets to pass studies, i.e. these general plans, and then introduce local plans – explained Głód.

– We expect a large investment freeze. We are already struggling with protracted procedures, whether environmental or the inability to connect, and here from this side we are getting a law that will significantly slow down and stop the development of photovoltaics in Poland – she alarmed.

Irena Gajewska pointed out that the need for changes in the issue of spatial order is not subject to discussion, and the existing administrative tool in the form of building conditions aroused a lot of discussion. However, according to her, just over two years is not enough to implement the provisions of the act.

– This is very little time, which is interspersed with the campaign to the European Parliament, in which local government officials are also involved, and then with their own election campaign. This is not a good time to implement such an advanced reform. There are also no funds, municipalities do not have funds, they are heavily indebted. We will all suffer,” Gajewska emphasized.

In her opinion, the effect of the amendment will be a reduction in the dynamics of issuing administrative decisions that enable the implementation of RES investments and “we will have less of this green energy in the system than we could have, and we know that we need it very much”.

– Not only to meet EU targets, but also because energy consumption is growing and we need more green energy for the needs of the developing economy – indicated the vice-president of the board of the Polish Photovoltaic Association.

Changes that should have been made earlier

Marta Głódź, when asked if this short period is not an attempt to repair the negligence of recent years, noted that “definitely, we should plan it a little earlier”. – If it had come in 3-4 years ago, slowly, after good consultations with the industry, with experts, we would not panic now – she added.

– Now we have too little time for this, and above all, municipalities have too little time to implement these new changes in the law. Communes must learn the new legislation, which is a revolutionary change and not entirely in the good sense of the word. It is revolutionary because it overturns everything. Municipalities must learn this, they must have access to experts, they must know what to do next – she pointed out.

Irena Gajewska compared the changes to the 10H regulation, which blocked investments in the development of onshore wind energy for a long time. – We expect similar effects, i.e. the inability to develop new projects. We are facing an investment gap, she noted.

Gajewska reminded that the government plans to obtain 27 gigawatts of installed capacity in photovoltaics by 2030. – Today we have 13.5 gigawatts and we have a chance for much more and we need much more, but with these new regulations we are reducing our chances ourselves – she noted.

The new regulations mean an increase in energy prices

Marta Głódź was asked whether the average Kowalski would feel the changes. This will also affect your energy bills. We need RES, we need photovoltaics, which has been a fast track to have RES so far. At this point, we stop again, we slow down the whole procedure, we will have an investment gap, and this will directly affect the electricity prices she said.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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