Wind Power Splits Norway's Green Movement
OSLO, Norway, February 13, 2001 (ENS) - Norway's environmental
movement has been split by state owned power utility Statkraft's plans to
develop three wind farms with a total production of 800 megawatts along
the scenic west coast. The wind facilities have been authorized for
Stadtlandet, Smola and Hitra.
Landscapes like this at Stadtlandet attract tourists from around the
world. (Photo courtesy Top of Norway)Most nongovernmental
organizations have expressed serious concern about, or outright opposition
to, at least one and in some cases all three of the newly licensed
projects, on grounds of their likely impact on wildlife and areas of
natural beauty and cultural importance. Tourism, it is argued, will also
However, the environmental foundation Bellona - a highly respected
Norwegian equivalent of Greenpeace - provoked uproar earlier this week
when it broke ranks with other groups. "It is important that we get
started on the development of renewable energy," Cato Buch of Bellona told
Bergen's "Tidende" newspaper. "Of course we evaluate these projects on a
case-by-case basis; but ... we think the advantages are greater than the
Erik Solheim, head of the Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature
(NNV), said of Buch's statement, "Our opponents will not hesitate to
exploit this for all it's worth. There is no escaping the fact that this
will weaken our case. But we shall fight on."
Embarrassingly for Solheim, Nature and Youth (NU), the young people's
wing of NNV, ton Friday supported Bellona's view. "Nature and Youth cannot
say that the negative consequences of wind power development ... are
greater than the benefits," Lars Bæren said. "Fears of wind power are ...
Windy scene at Smola on Norway's west coast. (Photo courtesy
Smola Tourist Bureau)Bellona said in December 2000, "All
production and consumption of energy implies environmental costs. To the
extent that new energy production is needed, several research reports show
that wind energy implies the least environmental costs compared with other
forms of energy production. The Bellona Foundation is of the opinion that
the advantages by far exceed the environmental costs in the case of wind
At Smola, Statkraft will construct 72 wind turbines with a total
installed effect of 150 MW. Every turbine will, including the tower and
the rotor blades, be more than 100 metres (325 feet) high and the wind
farm will cover an area of 18 square kilometres (seven square miles).
Statkraft has also been given the concession to construct a 132 kV
transmission line of 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the wind farm to the
At Stadtlandet, Statkraft will construct a wind farm with 35 turbines,
to generate 70 MW of power. It will cover an area of three square
kilometres (1.1 square miles). Statkraft will build a 26 kilometres (16
miles) 132 kV transmission line.
At Hitra, Statkraft will construct 28 win turbines to generate 56 MW of
power and cover an area of two square kilometres (.7 square miles). A
transmission line of 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) is also planned.