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Norway

Norway

Big wind plans still far from realisation

Private and public sector power suppliers including Statkraft, Norsk Hydro, Statoil and Miljokraft are involved in so called "concrete plans" for at least five large wind farms in Norway totalling 425 MW or more. This article covers the initial details, and one source notes that realisation is still likely to be a long way off. The upsurge in interest is probably in response to a near doubling of funding for renewables in the government's draft budget for next year.

Norway's department of water resources and energy (NVE) has reported a recent upsurge of interest in wind power, probably in response to a near doubling of funding for renewables in the government's draft budget for next year (Windpower Monthly, November 1999). NVE says private and public sector power suppliers including Statkraft, Norsk Hydro, Statoil and Miljokraft are involved in so called "concrete plans" for at least five large wind farms totalling 425 MW or more. Today only 13 MW of wind power is operating in Norway.

The new projects, which propose a total of 250 turbines, are spread along Norway's 2650 kilometre coastline from Stad in the south to the Arctic province of Finnmark. The biggest facility, at Kvaløy near Tromsø, would boast 120 turbines generating 180 MW. The others on the list of "concrete" projects are at Smøla (80 MW), Hitra (56 MW), Havøya (39 MW) and Stad (70 MW).

"These applications -- though likely to be supported by the government -- will still have to go through the various legal procedures, including local hearings," notes Asle Selfors of NVE. "We will see projects of this kind being built, but probably at the rate of one a year at best." Among other projects reported to have reached at least a reasonably advanced planning stage is a proposal by Nordhordland Kraftlag for a wind farm of nine turbines at Fedje to meet all the power needs of the town of under 1000. Norway's first commercial wind farm, the 3.75 MW Fjeldskaar project at Lindenes, the southernmost point on the Norwegian mainland, opened officially in August.

With next year's increased budget allocations, tax concessions for wind investment and direct subsidies, total government support for wind power production is now estimated at NOK 0.08-0.09/kWh. Government grants would cover up to 25% of construction costs.

Erlend Grimstad of the petroleum and energy ministry is confident these financial incentives, combined with the government's determination to increase taxes on consumption of traditional hydropower, mean that "in a short time we will see a considerable increase in the number of wind power installations."

Assuming optimal technology and strong investment, Grimstad told the newspaper Bergens Tidende that the five big wind project proposals are viable at NOK 0.30/kWh. "On the government side, we're waiting to see when the various players in the market will get started. For the time being they all seem to be sitting there waiting for each other."

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