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Norway: Approval for 200MW after owl concession

Approval for a 200MW onshore wind development has been given the go-ahead by the Norwegian energy ministry three years after its first application.

The project will be located on moorland south of Tonstad in southern Norway, where wind resources are high. Surveys indicate the site will reach more than 3,000 full-load hours, providing up to 620GWh annually.

For some time it was unclear if the project would be realised. Developer Havgul Nordic first applied in December 2012 and was granted regulator approval in December 2013. However, objections from environmental organisations led to the Norwegian authorities suspending final concession approval in winter 2014 until September. The now-granted application cannot be appealed.

Objections were reflected in the final licence through conditions relating to the natural environment, including terms for surveys and compensation plans relating to owl populations in the region.

Wildlife balance

"With this concession, we have found a very good balance between a significant contribution to the production of renewable energy and respect for the diversity of nature," said energy minister Tord Lien.

Construction of the wind farm is expected to start in 2017 and be operational by 2019, said Helge Toft, project manager for Havgul Clean Energy, after Statnett completes a new transformer at Ertsmyra.

The developer Havgul Nordic was created in September, a merger between Norway's Havgul Clean Energy and Sweden's Triventus Wind Power. It is the only pan-Nordic wind developer and already has 15 projects totalling 1.55GW in development in Finland, Norway and Sweden.

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