Europe’s largest wind farm finished despite reindeer protests

The 1.06GW Fosen complex in central Norway has installed its last turbine, but amid local protests and rock-bottom power prices it will probably be a cause of relief rather than celebration for developer Statkraft

During Fosen's construction, local reindeer herders claimed the turbines damaged their pastures (pic: Enra/pixabay)
During Fosen's construction, local reindeer herders claimed the turbines damaged their pastures (pic: Enra/pixabay)

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The last of the Vestas V117-3.45 turbines have been fitted at 180.6MW Geitfjellet - Fosen Geitfjellet - Fosen (180.6MW) OnshoreTrøndelag, Norway, Europe Click to see full details – one of the six wind farms that make up the Fosen cluster – developer Statkraft confirmed this month. 

However, rock-bottom electricity prices across the Nordic markets, potentially undermining other renewable project’s profitabilities, have left the Norwegian state utility with a bad taste in its mouth.

Statkraft had previously announced plans to invest about NOK 10 billion (€1.04 billion) in renewables each year between 2019 and 2025, with Norway remaining the largest single market for investments (26%). But the company is now shifting its attention to onshore wind in other markets

During Fosen’s development, Statkraft and its partners had to deal with a local protest of reindeer herders fighting against the turbines damaging their feeding pastures and ruining their traditional way of life — claims the developer has strongly rejected.

In a statement on the utility's Q2 results published in July, chief executive Christian Rynning-Tønnesen said power prices in the second quarter had dropped by as much as 84% to €5.60/MWh due to large snow-melting and full hydro reservoirs. The lower Nordic power prices played a large role in Statkraft recording a NOK 1.6 billion fall in profits to NOK 491 million.

Statkraft is Europe’s largest renewable energy producer with a 52.1% stake in the Fosen project. The remainder includes a 40% stake from Nordic Wind Power, a consortium led by Credit Suisse Infrastructure Partners. The rest is owned by local power utility Trønder Energi.

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