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Legislative Changes Supporting the Restart of Wind Power Development

Hungary
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Since the beginning of the year, the Government has modified the previous legal environment concerning the development of wind power plants in several areas to increase wind power capacity. According to the Ministry of Energy's communication so far, wind power capacity is expected to increase to around 1,000 MW by 2030.

The main changes are summarised below:

Main changes to building regulations 

  1. Protection distance: the protection zone is reduced from the previous distance of 12 km to 700 m, thus significantly increasing the extent of areas that can be considered for wind farm development, subject to the zoning restrictions, outside building areas in special zones exclusively for agricultural or renewable energy purposes. Within building areas or protection zones, wind farms may be installed only in industrial economic zones where the investment is of major economic importance, so that large energy consumers can meet their own energy needs (in addition to solar power) with wind farms, thus allowing a more balanced renewable energy portfolio.
  2. Facilitated area: areas designated by the Minister responsible for energy policy, which are particularly favourable for wind energy utilisation, can be developed in which environmental or building permits can be obtained under simplified conditions and in an accelerated procedure (50 days).
  3. Height limit: the previous objective height limit of 100 metres for wind turbines has also been removed, leaving the more flexible general rule that the height of wind turbines is limited only to the extent that they would interfere with air traffic or the operation of telecommunications, communications, and defence networks.
  4. Owners' consent: the previous rule requiring consent from owners of neighbouring properties within 1 km of wind farms has also been abolished.

Main changes to the technical rules

Some technical restrictions on wind farm development before 2024, such as a maximum generating unit capacity of 2MW, a maximum peripheral (blade speed) of 60 m/s and a maximum noise level of 60 decibels (40 decibels outside the safety zone), have also been removed. The objective limit of 50 m on the length of a wind turbine blade has also been removed, leaving the restriction that the length of the wind turbine blade must be such that it does not approach the ground surface more than twice the size of the roadway clearance during operation.

Main changes to authorisation rules

Finally, the previous limitation on the number of official permits that can be issued for the construction and commissioning of wind farms and the capacity of wind farms that can be authorised, as well as the obligation to submit tenders, will be removed. The lifting of these restrictions will also significantly facilitate the restart of future wind power projects.

By Gabor Simon, Partner, Head of Energy and Procurement, and Kristof Szeredi, Senior Associate, Finance, Projects and Restructuring, DLA Piper Hungary

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