Cautious welcome for Norway's new wind rules

A new government framework is likely to enable more onshore wind development but risks hindering technological excellence, local industry association Norwea has warned.

Norway has about 7GW of onshore wind capacity under development (pic credit: Midtfjellet Vindkraft)
Norway has about 7GW of onshore wind capacity under development (pic credit: Midtfjellet Vindkraft)

Under proposals made by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) government agency last week, onshore wind projects will be subject to more stringent local scrutiny, rigid development timelines and stricter turbine heights and distance requirements. However, project-specific taxes that had been mooted earlier this year have not be introduced.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the new rules will introduce joint consultation and permitting processes for groups of projects in the same area. This is intended to result in better environmental outcomes and more public support for developments.

Fewer changes to projects will be allowed once the licensing process is underway. Another significant proposed change is the requirement that project developers address grid connection issues with the network operator at an earlier stage of project development.  

Norwea welcomed the NVE’s acknowledgement that wind power has an essential role to play in Norway’s energy decarbonisation, as the lowest-cost source of clean electricity. 

The association is also supportive of better consultation at local level. It is critical, however, of the rigid requirements regarding the licensing process. 

“It is important that the flexibility of the system is maintained, so that wind turbines can be built with the best and most area-efficient technology available in the market,” Norwea said in a statement.

Wind power generated only 4% of Norway’s electricity demand in 2019, according to WindEurope, but it added a respectable 780MW of onshore wind capacity in 2019, reaching a total of 2,444MW in operation. 

According to Windpower Intelligence, the research arm of Windpower Monthly, Norway has about 7GW of onshore wind capacity in the pipeline, at various stages of development. Additionally, plans for up to 4.5GW of offshore wind were released earlier this month.

 

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