Statkraft’s gigawatt-scale wind development violates reindeer owners’ UN rights

Construction of two large wind farms in northern Norway violated reindeer herders’ cultural heritage rights, Supreme Court rules

The Roan project is part of the large Fosen wind hub (pic credit: Ole Martin Wold/Statkraft)

Norway’s Supreme Court has ruled that two projects in Statkraft's 1GW-plus Fosen complex were built in violation of UN conventions.

It ruled that construction of the 256MW Roan - Fosen and 288MW Storheia - Fosen  wind farms in northern Norway affected the Sami reindeer breeders’ cultural heritage rights under the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

Decisions on the projects’ license and expropriation permits are therefore invalid. The developer must also pay the Sami peoples’ legal costs.

The general manager of Fosen Vind, Tom Kristian Larsen, said: “This verdict obviously comes as a surprise to us. The Norwegian authorities gave us a final license after a long and thorough licensing process where all affected parties were consulted, and where the relationship to reindeer husbandry was particularly emphasised in the application process.”

Fosen Vind will now wait for guidance from the government, he added.

Roan and Storheia were granted permits in 2010, and commissioned in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Statkraft had developed the Fosen complex, but sold Roan earlier this year. It retains a majority stake in Storheia.