Power giant hopes for credit trade

Norsk Hydro has unveiled plans in Norway for a 90 MW plant at Harbaksfjellet near Fosen in Sør-Trøndelag. But the company says it will only go ahead if a market for trade in renewable energy certificates is introduced. Norway has about 100 MW of operating wind plant today, largely stimulated by capital grants from government.

Norsk Hydro has submitted plans for Harbaksfjellet to state energy department NVE, the first step for all wind plant proposals. "If there is no opposition then we will take things further. No final decisions have been made from our end about whether we will pursue this, because conditions and the general framework for the wind power industry are not as favourable as when we were at the discussions stage," says the company's Helge Stiksrud.

If all goes as Norsk Hydro hopes, the project could be operational by spring 2005. The intention is to erect about 30 machines with a maximum capacity of 90 MW. One likely configuration is the installation of 33, 2.75 MW turbines. Norsk Hydro is already a part owner of the 40 MW Havøygavlen wind farm of Nordex turbines in Finnmark, installed a year ago.

Further Norsk Hydro plans for wind development now depend on a well structured market for green credit trade, says Stiksrud. "What we feel we need is the introduction of a green certificates system along with a better framework for the industry as a whole," he adds. "Most industry observers see it as the best way forward."