Norway approves 200MW after environmental battle

NORWAY: Approval for a 200MW onshore wind development in Tonstad, southern Norway, has been given the go-ahead by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE), three years after its first application.

Energy minister Tord Lien has approved the 200MW Tonstad project (pic: Norsk olje og gass)
Energy minister Tord Lien has approved the 200MW Tonstad project (pic: Norsk olje og gass)
The development will be located on moorland to the south of Tonstad in southern Norway, where wind resources are rated highly. 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 this month. The now-granted application cannot be appealed.

Objections were reflected within the final licence through provision of conditions relating to the natural environment. Notably, these included terms for various surveys and compensation plans relating to owl populations in the region.

On the approval, Norwegian energy minister Tord Lien said: "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."

Havgul Nordic is a result of the merger completed in September between Norway's Havgul Clean Energy and Sweden's Triventus Wind Power. Havgul Nordic is the only pan-Nordic wind developer and already has 15 projects totalling 1,554 MW under development across Finland, Norway and Sweden.

"We are very pleased that MPE upheld the [regulator's] licence. Now begins the task of preparing the construction of the park," said Havgul Clean Energy managing director, Harald Dirdal.

The wind farm is expected to be completed by 2019.

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