Statkraft, Norway's largest producer of electricity, is forging ahead with wind power development plans. Its next project is to be a 56 MW plant at Hitra in Sør Trøndelag, due online by autumn next year. Construction will begin as soon as contracts with suppliers are in place, says the company. In addition, Statkraft applied last month for a concession for a 40-65 MW wind power plant at Skallhalsen in Vadsø. The application is the latest in a string of permit requests for siting large wind plants in the country and will further test the resolve of the Norwegian government to increase the use of renewables. Statkraft has forwarded two alternative plans for Skallhalsen, one for 16, 2.5 MW turbines and a second for five 8 MW machines. Pending speedy approval, the plant, with an estimated build-time of 15 months, should be in operation within four years. Referring to the decision to go ahead with Hitra, the utility's Bård Mikkelsen comments: "The decision shows how seriously Norway's intention is to be a wind power nation. The wind park at Hitra is the result of a large scale initiative by Statkraft to encourage renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources." Norway is aiming to produce 3 TWh from renewables by 2010. If all goes according to plan, Statkraft will be contributing one- third of that. The company's Nils Dårflot underlines the business reasoning behind the Hitra decision: "We want to concentrate hard on wind power in the future, because it is both environmentally friendly and economically competitive." Hitra will be the company's second large scale wind farm and follows completion of the 40 MW Smøla project of Bonus turbines last year. A projected second phase will bring Smøla's capacity to some 110 MW.