Cap placed on new capacity

Norway's Water and Energy Directorate (NVE) has bad news for the 130 applicants waiting in line for approval of their wind plants. NVE says only one-third of the pending capacity can be built due to the country's weak power grid. Norway's feeble grid is nothing new, but NVE has now calculated how much grid growth is expected in the next 25 years to forecast how many wind plants it should approve. Although the directorate has long been criticised for its extremely slow handling of incoming applications and has claimed insufficient staff as the reason, it will, in future, cherry-pick the best projects for evaluation prior to granting building permits. Those nearest to current or future transmission lines will be favoured. Wind project developers, meantime, are arguing for the grid to be built out to take aboard more wind power. Others are taking their wind development business elsewhere. State-owned utility Statkraft recently bought out the owner of the 23 MW Blaengwen wind project in Wales to become its sole developer and has a permit to build the 60 MW Carraig Gheal wind farm in Scotland.