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Norway To Slow Onshore Wind Development Amid Protests

Norway plans stricter rules for onshore wind power installations, including turbine height and shorter project timelines, as it looks to respond to calls from the public to protect the environment when approving wind power development sites.  

Norway’s government proposed the new rules on Friday, and those rules have to be approved by Parliament to become legislation.

Still, the new regulations will likely drag on onshore wind development in Norway, which has been booming in recent years.

“In the future, we will facilitate a limited and more moderate wind power development than we currently see,” Petroleum and Energy Minister Tina Bru said at a press conference, as carried by Reuters.

“This does not mean that wind power development will end,” Bru added.

Norway, Western Europe’s largest oil producer, started reviewing last year its regulatory framework for new onshore wind developments amid protests against wind turbine installations in some parts of the country.

Norway’s onshore wind sector, in which foreign companies own around half of the onshore plants, is set to more than double its installed capacity by the end of 2020, but after 2021 uncertainties in regulations regarding new developments could put a brake to Norway’s booming onshore wind industry.

The Norwegian Energy Regulatory Authority, NVE, imposed in April 2019 a moratorium on new onshore wind project approvals.

Protests against the construction of wind turbines on the island of Froeya near Trondheim led to the suspension of the construction works in May 2019, in one of the latest examples that local residents are not all that green when it comes to construction sites in their own backyards.

While it is reviewing onshore wind development rules, Norway opened last week offshore two areas, Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II, to offshore renewables, including offshore wind power.

Wind farms account for nearly 4 percent of Norway’s production capacity, while hydropower accounts for a massive 96 percent of total installed capacity.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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