Opposition swells to trio of big west coast wind projects

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Most of Norway's environmentalist groups, plus a number of scientific bodies and academics, have joined a swelling chorus of opposition to a long-delayed trio of major wind developments along the scenic west coast. This time the protests focus on a 70 MW project proposed by state-owned power producer Statkraft at Stadland (Windpower Monthly, June 2000). The proposal for 35 turbines is "so controversial that the entire debate on new renewable energy sources could go barking up the wrong tree," Kristen Grieg Bjerke, head of the leading cultural heritage protection pressure group, told Bergens Tidende newspaper. Comparing the Stadland area to North Cape, a highly lucrative tourist draw, Bjerke added: "Stad is one of the places which has the highest symbolic value along the coast." He says a power plant with 70 metre high turbines will dominate the valuable cultural landscape around Selje, the site of a ruined 12th-century monastery. His organisation, he added, does not oppose wind power in general. "But we cannot accept that the price of developing wind power will be a deleterious effect on cultural environments of national importance." Backing for Stadland, however, is coming from some environmental quarters. Bellona, a respected Norwegian equivalent of Greenpeace, says it is high time a start was made on development of renewable energy. "In the case of Stad we think the advantages are greater than the disadvantages," says Bellona's Cato Buch. Also the youth wing of one of the project's main opponents, the Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature, is for the project, going against its elders' views.

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