Local protests kill Norway's wind plans

The government has ended work on a national framework for wind power after overwhelming local opposition to the plans.

Norway's onshore wind future is now unclear beyond 2021 and the end of the green certificate programme (pic: Enercon)

The draft framework, presented in April, was in the process of being consulted upon. It identified 13 areas best suited for future wind development. 

However, a large amount of local opposition, over environmental and tourism concerns, has forced the government to end it. Protests were organised across the country.

"The idea behind both the process and the design of a national framework for wind power was that it should mitigate conflict," Norway’s minister of petroleum and energy, Kjell Børge Freiberg, said.

"We can conclude that after 5,000 consultation responses, most of which are critical, that has not been achieved.

"That is why we will not proceed with the proposal for a national framework with the 13 designated areas," Freiberg added.

The government said it would now look at Norway’s licensing process "with a view to improving and tightening current practice" including tighter deadlines and the involvement of municipalities in future projects.

Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg told local news organisation NRK,"We will have no national framework for wind power in the future".

NRK said 56 municipality governments were consulted as part of the process, and 49 responded with a clear opposition against wind development in their region.

The move to end the framework has been backed by opposition parties, according to NRK, with one leader calling for old licences to be withdrawn.

Norway stopped new approvals for wind projects at the start of the consultation in April.

Despite this, WindEurope expects Norway to add around 3.5GW over the next five years, making it one of the more active markets in Europe in that period.

It has added approximately 104MW of new wind capacity so far in 2019, according to Windpower Intelligence.

Under the green certificate scheme that Norway operates with Sweden, there is a pipeline of approved projects that need to be installed by 2021.

Thereafter, wind projects — if they can get approved — will need to operate on a subsidy-free basis.