State boost from capital subsidies -- Three projects for up to 120 MW

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Norwegian energy agency Enova has earmarked some NOK 250 million (EUR 30.6 million) in capital subsidies to three large-scale wind power projects. Once in operation, they should provide around 430 GWh of electricity each year. According to Enova's Eli Arnstad, the three projects -- at Kjøllefjord, Skallhalsen and Valsneset -- were the best among seven that were presented at the tail end of the year.

The largest subsidy will go to Norwegian power giant Statkraft for a 40-65 MW plant at Skallhalsen in the far north. Enova has granted NOK 130 million to the installation of a site, which should be ready to begin production in 2006; estimated annual production is 140-230 GWh.

Statkraft will also receive a further NOK 86 million for its 40 MW Kjøllefjord plant in northern Norway. The plant is planned to be up and running next year and set to yield some 155 GWh of electricity. Trønderenergi Kraft will develop a third project of 12 MW at Valsneset. It won a subsidy of NOK 30.7 million.

Enova's subsidies will go towards a total investment of some NOK 1 billion in the industry, with investment planning reaching some NOK 3.3 billion in all the concessions applied for.

Enova hopes the three approved plants will be in production within two years. Arnstad says conditions are especially favourable with these projects, adding that they will provide a significant lift to the Norwegian energy industry in general.

Enova manages NOK 5 billion in government funds set aside for energy projects. For the wind industry, subsidies are awarded to what Enova perceives to be cost effective projects that would not otherwise have been viable. The maximum grant can be no more than 10% of the total investment cost for any given project, while a second initiative helps with commercialising wind technology suitable for the Norwegian climate and conditions.

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