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Protests Force Norway To Scrap Ambitious Wind Project

Wind Project

Public opposition has forced the Norwegian government to scrap plans for large-scale onshore wind power development, Recharge News reports.

The outlet quoted a statement from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate as saying that the plan received 5,000 responses from the public and most of these “were critical from private individuals who do not want wind power in their municipality”.

The plan that sparked these responses envisaged the designation of 13 areas on which wind farms were to be built. Now, the plan will be dropped and the government will instead focus on tightening the licensing regime for new wind projects, environmental assessment rules and rules regarding construction deadlines.

Norway currently has wind power capacity of 1.7 GW with another 1.8 GW under construction amid falling costs that have spurred a major investment wave in the segment.

The government announced the 13 areas earlier this year, out of 43.

“These areas are pointed out by weighing production conditions and network capacity against the effects on the environment and society,” the Water Resources and Energy Directorate said at the time.

Most of these were in the south of the country due to the limits of network capacity in the north and the opposition of the indigenous Sami population, which took Norway to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination over these wind power plans.

The Samis claimed these plans threaten the grazing grounds of the reindeer they herd as their main livelihood. The UN agency requested that Norway stop work on the project that sparked the Samis’ anger, but Norway refused, deepening the tension with the indigenous people.

Now, it seems the Samis are not the only ones to oppose new wind farms. In fact, opposition to onshore wind development near populated areas has been documented in other countries as well. There is even a whole anti-wind farm activist movement in Europe.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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