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Norway

Norway

Utility gets serious with big wind plans

Norwegian utility Nord-Trøndelag Elektrisitetsverk (NTE) has proposed two coastal wind farms with a total generating capacity of between 176-190 MW. The projects would be sited in the area of Ytre Namdal in Nord-Trøndelag county, about halfway up the western coast. Preliminary figures estimate the combined cost for both projects to be NOK 1.4 billion. NTE has six wind turbines operating presently.

The flurry of activity in the nascent Norwegian wind sector has carried on into the new millennium with a proposal for two coastal wind farms with a total generating capacity of between 176-190 MW. The projects, announced by utility Nord-Trøndelag Elektrisitetsverk (NTE), would be sited in the area of Ytre Namdal in Nord-Trøndelag county, about halfway up the western coast.

One project is slated for Ytre Vikara, using up to 75, 2 MW turbines over an area of 9.5 square kilometres, says Kurt Benonisen of NTE. The second project, on Hundhammerfjellet at Abelvær in Nærøy, would add 10-15 turbines to a Vestas 1.65 MW unit turning since 1998 at the site.

NTE has submitted its proposals to the Norwegian licensing authority, the Water Resources and Energy Administration (NVE), and the utility is now in the process of gathering data for an environmental impact statement. The total permitting process is expected to take two years, Benonisen says.

In its application, NTE proposed using 2 MW turbines at each project, but left the possibility for larger machines open. "Since development from manufacturers is rapid, we expect two years from now to have 3 MW machines available," he says.

NTE plans to finance the projects with its own capital, in addition to traditional loans, and take 100% ownership of the new plant. Preliminary figures estimate the combined cost for both projects to be NOK 1.4 billion.

Lightning danger

NTE has six wind turbines operating presently. In addition to the megawatt machine at Nærøy, three 400 kW units have been turning at Vikara since 1991 and two 500 kW turbines there since 1993, all of them from Danish Vestas. Both sites are located in a semi-arctic climate, but due to the close proximity to the coastline, none of the machines have had the usual arctic icing problems, Benonisen says. Lightning and turbulence have caused problems, however, and the utility is studying how future damage and danger can be avoided.

The wind source does not seem to be a problem, however. Over one year, the Vestas unit at Nærøy has operated with high average wind speeds of 8 m/s, Benonisen says. Wind speeds at Ytre Vikna are "even better," he adds, but he declines to be more specific until a full year of wind measuring is completed in March.

"We are quite optimistic about wind power in Norway," says Benonisen. "We know quite well the wind resource we have, and our experience so far is quite good. The authorities in Norway are making better financial support regimes. If they do what they say, then we will have good enough conditions for getting the financial and economical sides in order."

NTE is the fifth largest power utility in Norway, generating 2.5 TWh a year from 24 hydro plant. It has nearly 1000 employees and an annual turnover of NOK 1.1 billion.

Permission granted

Farther to the south, in Sogn og Fjordane county, Kvalheim Kraft AS has been granted a concession for four turbines at Mehuken in Vagsøy municipality, with an installed effect of 4 MW and annual production of 15 GWh. Road and distribution networks are already in place, and the cost of the project is to be NOK 35 million, including a NOK 8 million grant from NVE. Norway's current operating wind power capacity is about 13 MW.

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