Norway will focus future onshore wind development on its centre and south, with most of the windiest north ruled out because of poor grid access and the need to avoid conflict with indigenous reindeer herders who have accused the nation of human rights violations.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) has proposed 13 areas deemed most suitable for new wind power, almost all in the southern half of the Nordic country.
NVE said: “Despite the fact that many areas in northern Norway have the best production conditions for wind power, we propose to highlight most areas in southern Norway. This is because we have placed great emphasis on the consideration of Sami reindeer husbandry and limited network capacity in northern Norway.”
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.
NVE said the 13 areas it has identified balance “technical and economic considerations, and environmental and social interests”. Although it will be possible to apply for a licence outside the designated zones, it will be more difficult to obtain one if the plan is accepted by Norway’s energy ministry.
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 system that is already well-served with renewable power from the country’s vast hydro fleet.
Norwegian network operator Statnett said last year that despite having less windy conditions than the north, southern Norway still has the potential for “significant” subsidy-free wind development.
Hordaland, a county in southern Norway, is already the planned location for the 1.5GW Hordavind project that would be Europe’s largest single-phase wind farm if advanced by developer Norsk Vind Energi.