Natural power for national park -- Norwegian first

Norway's Hardangervidda national park, a barren plateau best known for its magnificent natural vistas and large herds of wild reindeer, is now also home to what its owner claims is the first inland stand-alone wind turbine in the country. The 20 kW turbine, supplied by Genvind Engineering of Denmark, was delivered to Knut Brekke's 40 bed "Hein Seter" hotel by sledge; the hotel is at least a two hour hike from the nearest road. Brekke says it took four years to win planning approval for his modest project, the aim of which is "to produce electricity for the hotel and reduce the use of fossil fuels in the national park."

Kirsti Kolle Grøndahl, president of the Norwegian parliament, officially "opened" the installation at the end of August. In a tongue-in-cheek allusion to Scandinavian rivalries, Grøndahl commiserated with her audience of about 30 hardy souls that "it had to be the Danes who developed our first wind turbine in this beautiful national park." Any excess electricity generated by the Genvind unit will be used to charge a major battery bank and to heat the hotel. Brekke says trial runs during the summer have been promising.


A similar project started operation last month near the Russian port of Murmansk, just over the Norwegian border high above the Arctic Circle. Another single wind turbine, though this time much bigger at 200 kW, has just started supplying the Ogni Murmanska hotel with up to 500,000 kWh annually.

The turbine is a retrofitted Danish Wincon, says Hans Peter Porskjær of DMP's Mølleservice, a Danish wind turbine service company. DMP and Norsk Vindenergi are working on the project in collaboration with the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and a Norwegian nature protection group, Norges Naturvernforbund, which are funding it. Norway is keen on persuading the Russians to shut down their nuclear power installations, which the Norwegians see as a huge safety and security risk.