Legal Aspects of Geothermal Energy Use in Poland
Keywordsgeothermal energy, renewable energy, environmental law, geological and mining law
Geothermal energy, understood as the energy stored in the form of heat beneath the earth’s surface, is one of the types of renewable energy sources. In Poland, geothermal energy is the renewable energy source with the highest technical potential, which results from the fact that there are natural sedimentation-structure basins in Poland, filled with hot underground waters of various temperatures. One of the basic factors determining the potential development of undertakings oriented at the use of geothermal energy is the legal environment, understood as a system of legal regulations relating to human activity connected with the use of geothermal energy. The subject of this study is the analysis of legal conditions for ventures geared towards geothermal energy exploration, documentation, and extraction. In Poland there is no uniform legal act regulating these issues in a comprehensive way. The provisions of the Geological and Mining Law and the Water Law, but also the provisions of the Construction Law, Environmental Protection Law, Energy Law, and Renewable Energy Sources Act apply to the analysed projects. The complexity and multilayer character of legal regulations determines the multitude of legal procedures reflecting the regulatory function of the state, realised through the system of concessions, permits, permissions, and approvals. The aim of this study is to present the legal regulations applicable in Poland relating to the use of geothermal energy, and to analyse the level of rationing of activities undertaken in this field.
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