Norway has scrapped plans for a national wind power development framework citing the strength of protests against the proposal, prompting the country's wind association to call for a strong signal of support for the sector.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) had suggested the country’s future onshore wind activity should focus on 13 areas designated particularly suitable for development.
But the government said a consultation on the plan prompted 5,000 responses “most of which were critical from private individuals who do not want wind power in their municipality”.
Energy and petroleum minister Kjell Børge Freiberg said: “Several of the major developments we are now seeing have created great commitment and conflicts. First locally, later regionally, and nationally.”
The government will abandon plans for the framework, and instead look at tightening licensing and environmental procedures for future wind projects, along with rules on construction deadlines.
Daniel Willoch, policy advisor at Norwegian wind energy association Norwea, told Recharge the government needs to complete its revision of the licensing system fast.
At the end of 2021 Norway will leave the green certificate scheme it jointly operates with Sweden, leaving wind development to compete on price alone in a power system that is already well-served with renewable power from the country’s vast hydro-fleet.
While not overly troubled by the dropping of plans to use mapped wind development areas, Norwea wants the government “to send out a clear signal that wind power is still welcome in Norway”, Willoch said. “The government also needs to send out a signal that wind is a national project.”
Norway’s excellent wind resources have made it a favourite option for large-scale wind developments, but the scale of projects planned has created controversy.
Recharge reported earlier this year how Norway was the subject of a complaint to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination over its approval of part of the 1GW Fosen wind complex.
Indigenous Sami reindeer herders claim wind development impacts crucial grazing grounds for their animals, disrupting a centuries-old element of their culture.
Update adds Norwea comments. Additional reporting by Bernd Radowitz