Application ready to roll this month -- Huge Norwegian project

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Norwegian wind developer Havgul has definitively dropped one of its projects off Norway's western coast, but says applications for three other sites are ready for submission to Norway's Energy Directorate (NVE).

Early in 2005 Havgul rolled out plans to build a 1400 MW wind farm called Havsul, spread out in four separate areas (I-IV) along the coastal municipalities of Møre and Ramsdal. Havgul's Emil Thorkildsen says the company knew that site III, on the coast between Bud and Farstad, would be the most challenging to sell to local residents and authorities. "The fact that this was a tourist area was the biggest challenge," he says.

Havgul made up for some of the loss of site III by adding more turbines to site II. The biggest of the three projects, Havsul II, is now nearly 25 percent larger than originally envisioned with 178 turbines. Havsul I and IV are slated to be 78 turbines each. Annual output of the combined development is expected to be around 4.2 TWh, or approximately 3.5% of Norway's electricity.

Havgul had at one point planned to use Vestas 4.5 MW turbines, but Thorkildsen says the project application, to be submitted to NVE this month, will specify a "need for flexibility," with turbines sized between 3 MW and 8 MW. The three project areas have been accepted by the Norwegian military and Thorkildsen hopes NVE will also approve Havsul I, II, and IV by autumn.

"I think this huge project is a way to get less overall environmental impact," he says. "Instead of wind turbines all along the coastline, I think the authorities are beginning to see the wisdom of combining as much capacity as possible at one site."

In October Havgul sold half the rights to the Havsul II project to local utility company Tafjord Kraft AB. Havsul II is expected to cost NOK 9 billion NOK (EUR 1.1 billion), and the total project approximately NOK 16 billion NOK (EUR 2 billion)

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