Northern provinces fertile ground for new projects

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Wind plant project developer Vindkompaniet AB says Sweden's northern provinces are proving to be fertile ground for new onshore wind sites. The company is preparing its application for a 90 MW site in Glötesvålen, about 325 kilometres northwest of the Norwegian city of Oslo. A 90 MW Vindkompaniet wind farm of 30, 3 MW turbines is also in the planning stages further north near the town of Umeå. Staffan Nikolsson, director of Vindkompaniet, says the company gained experience building wind farms smaller than 10 MW but is now ready to test its expertise on larger sites -- and northern Sweden is currently the best area. "Looking back, over the last three to four years we've made a geographical shift and we've seen the general attitude of people and the media making a positive shift toward wind power, too," says Nikolsson. In the northwest province of Dalarna, a number of factors have contributed to a spate of wind projects, he says. Six years ago the municipality helped set up a single turbine, which turned out to be a financial success for local shareholders. Dalarna's planners surveyed the region and included areas of interest for wind development in its planning documents. The region's 12 small utilities set up their own entity, Dala Vindkraft, which is planning three single turbines, important in gaining local acceptance of wind, Nikolsson says. Just to the north of Dalarna, RES Scandinavien, a subsidiary of the UK's Renewable Energy Systems, has two projects underway. The first, a five-turbine 10 MW project in Malå has already been sold to local utility Jämtkraft, while a 48-turbine offshore project to total as much as 144 MW in Östersund received its building application approvals in early February.

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