Lack of transmission a serious barrier to wind development in Finnmark

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Large scale expansion of wind power in the Finnmark region of Norway-identified as an area for several major developments-will be impossible for at least six years due to lack of capacity on the electricity network, according to a leading official at Norwegian energy commission NVE. Agnar Aas says shortage of transmission will hinder wind development in most areas where the resource is best, with Finnmark one of the hardest hit. According to Aas, grid operator Statnett, which has permission to build a 40 MW wind farm in the region at Kjøllefjord, is keen to upgrade the grid and is making a formal application to the government for permission to do so. But even if approved, the work would not be complete until 2010 at the earliest. The knock on effect for Finnmark is that any plans for increased electricity from wind power will be minimal during that time. As well as permitting the Kjøllefjord project, NVE has already approved a concession for a plant at Gartefjellet, while two more applications are also being considered. But lack of transmission in Norway in general is starting to cast a cloud on the country's considerable ambitions for wind development.

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