The draft Act on wind turbine investments (“Act”) which was recently introduced in Parliament will bring – if adopted - key changes for the wind farm sector. The Act introduces a comprehensive definition of a wind turbine, defining it as an object consisting of foundations, a tower and technical elements. This definition may significantly affect the amount of real estate tax which is to be paid by operators of wind turbines – at present real estate tax is calculated on the basis of the value of the tower and foundation only.
The distance between the wind turbine and households or mixed purpose buildings as well as specified types of protected natural areas should be equal to or higher than ten times the overall height of the wind turbine (from the bottom to the top of the blade). Wind turbines that are already operating will not be required to comply with the distance requirements, excluding modifications resulting in an increase of their parameters or their impact upon the environment.
The construction permits for the wind turbines which have already been issued remain in force provided that a permit for use is obtained within 3 years of the Act entering into force. New wind turbines will have to be located based on local zoning plans only. Even if an existing local zoning plan allows the location of wind turbines, a building permit will not be issued if the distance requirement is not met.
Wind turbines that are already operating will be required to obtain a new type of permit called an operational permit, which will be issued by the Technical Supervision Authority within one year of the Act entering into force. An operational permit is valid for two years and may be extended. Operational permits will also apply to newly constructed wind turbines. Operational permits are subject to a statutory fee of up to 1% of the value of the construction of the wind turbine.
If adopted, the Act will apply to on-shore wind turbines only. It is at an early stage of the legislative process in Parliament.