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Norway

Norway

Environment row erupts over research project

Just weeks after the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) granted a licence for an ambitious research and development project at Bjugn, near Trondheim, the Sør-Trøndelag "fylkesmann", or governor, has lodged a formal complaint with the oil and energy ministry that environmental impact assessments have not been carried out and that only technical issues were taken into account in the decision to award the licence. The test facility is to comprise three turbines with separate masts for taking wind measurements at heights of up to 120, 130 and 45 metres. The last of these would be offshore, while the first two, on the 81 hectares Valsneset industrial estate, would be "the biggest planned to date in Norway" with a combined capacity of about 5.5 MW, according to newspaper Addresseavisen. Annual production of about 15 GWh would cover almost half the domestic electricity consumption of Bjugn municipality. One aim of the project is "to gain experience of the operation of large turbines in Norwegian conditions," Addresseavisen says. The newspaper identifies the developer as VIVA AS, owned by the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research at the University of Trondheim (SINTEF), research body Energiforskning AS, the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU), the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), energy company Valsneset Energiog Industriselskap and Campus Kjeller AS. VIVA says it cannot afford the environmental assessment, which would involve studies by several government agencies and/or scientific institutes and that the authorities should pay for it. The issue could scupper the project, which has aroused some local opposition.

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