The joy of Andmyran is indescribable.
Let it be absolutely clear. The decision by OED to withdraw the decision by NVE which gave German Prime Capital a postponed deadline and extended concession period is a major environmental victory that we and many others have fought really hard for. For Andværingan and the rest of the country, this is a day of joy, but what was this aftertaste we mentioned in the headline...?
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy's justification for the decision (PDF)
- Ministry of Petroleum and Energy: Andmyran wind power plant is still not getting an extended deadline
- - Now we pop the champagne. This is the nail in the coffin for the Andmyran development
- Prime Capital on the Andmyran development: - This is incredibly sad
- Read about the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association's consultation statement for Andmyran here
But anyone who thought that the OED and NVE give something without an ulterior motive is wrong...
A few days after the government did not get approval for its extraordinary proxies, which they had worked on before the Storting in complete secrecy, and in the worst corona era with the complete shutdown of most of the country, Oil and Energy Minister Tina Bru takes the opportunity to approve two highly controversial wind power plants in Western Norway, Okla (Stadlandet), and Haramsøy outside Ålesund and just north of the bird island Runde.
- OED: Confirms plan change for Okla wind power plant
- OED: Rejects complaints about Haram wind farm
- The government says yes to two new wind power plants - but refuses in the north
- Okla/Stadlandet - They fight against windmills in one of the country's windiest places
- Haramsøy: Go at the throat of wind power developers
The corona fog is utilized…
At a time when all the media have wall-to-wall coverage of the coronavirus, and people are refused to stay in the cabin or to gather in groups Thus, the government through Minister Bru uses the opportunity to approve two highly conflict-ridden and highly environmentally damaging wind power cases, Okla and Haramsøy. It was also not very long ago that NVE also took the opportunity to do something equally unusual and controversial, namely to approve MTA (environment-transport-and-facility) plans for two wind power plants, Tysvær and Øyfjellet. Both on the same day, 18 December.
Not only is it unusual for two such decisions so close together in time, but on the same day that the new Oil and Energy Minister Listhaug was appointed, and right before the Christmas holiday. The Christmas celebration was ruined for many and the holidays ate up much of the appeal period. With this, the licensing department in NVE clearly showed the power they wield. At the same time, this was also a clear political move by an agency that should show neither muscle nor political preferences. It was clearly not only aimed at the new minister, but at the same time (as we see it) a kick up his own boss, NVE director Kjetil Lund. Here, we in the licensing department decide...
A poorly hidden agenda…
Now, Oil and Energy Minister Tina Bru are no blank slate in their fight to build out as much wind power as possible and in the shortest possible time. As a parliamentary representative and spokesperson for energy and environmental policy in the Conservative Party, she has been resoundingly clear;
- The Fosen development is a wonderful nest egg: It creates several hundred jobs, starting already this year. It is helping to reindustrialise Norway, as a major renewable project on the mainland. In addition, wind power at Fosen will create clean, renewable electricity for as many as 170,000 households. This is therefore very good news
- This also shows that the time for large renewable developments is not over. There is still great renewable potential in Norway, and when we are to be part of Europe's green shift in the future, it is important that much of this potential is realised., says Bru. (DN.no 23.02.16 )
Where did all the protests from the wind power developers and lobby organizations go now? When Listhaug was installed as the new Oil and Energy Minister, there was a terrible scandal in the media because she had previously spoken negatively about wind power. The energy companies and investors really suffered in the wallet and complained about their plight in the media. The fact that an Oil and Energy Minister who had a pronounced opinion on wind power was appointed was no less than a pure scandal.
Where have all these people gone who had such clear opinions about Listhaug? With Tina Bru as one of the biggest advocates FOR wind power, it suddenly became completely quiet. Not a hint that this is undemocratic, or anything else. Not a sound. Completely still…
Was it only the wallets of the energy companies that defined whether this was undemocratic or not?
And now? Not a sound from that side. Not a sound…
Tina Bru has an agenda, and she's in a hurry…
She already stated in February that she has 11 new wind power concessions waiting to be processed. Therefore, she has now had a difficult time getting the new licensing rules introduced. In fact, she has now had such a bad time that she will not let the population have their say about the licensing rules before they are summarized in a report to the Storting which she wants the Storting to approve.
The input meeting that had been set with several participating organizations on 11 March was postponed late the evening before due to corona fears. Already early on the same day as the meeting was to have been held, they had the press release that they were now to prepare a report to the Storting ready. This is very reminiscent of the bill on extended powers that the government had drawn up in secret. Here, suddenly, a press release also comes out of the blue. No meetings. They are canceled due to corona, but Storting report without input, yes the government wants that.
The justification from Tina Bru is that they received so many submissions to the National Framework for Wind Power (over 5,000) that they already have enough to work with. Builders and energy companies are guaranteed both the time and the opportunity to have long meetings and conversations with them. As for those who do not want this, they have had their say during the previous hearing, so it will have to stand...
That in the meantime a lot of new knowledge has come about the consequences and environmental consequences of wind power is not so important, is it? People have had input before.
The Norwegian Environment Protection Association with a demand for a public hearing
The deadline for written input was set for 17 March in the invitation from the OED to the organisations, and on a website which has later been removed from the OED.
The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association used the input deadline to submit demands for an open public consultation round BEFORE the government prepares the Storting message on the new licensing rules. What is happening now is completely undemocratic and unacceptable. Trust in Norwegian administration has long since disappeared from large parts of the population, several organisations, and from countless future wind power neighbors and local communities. Pushing this through WITHOUT a prior round of public consultation is completely unacceptable.
- Read: The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association's letter to the OED with a demand for public consultation (PDF)
Was the Andmyran decision just a small raisin that was thrown out to the population to avoid further trouble...?
The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association has put in a lot of work to stop the Andmyran development, and has, among other things, raised the matter with NVE director Kjetil Lund and with OED in two meetings, in addition to informing about the harmful effects on nature, birds, local communities and not least , that this is the world's worst climate issue both in meetings, case management and in our information work. You simply don't build a wind power plant in deep peat bogs and expect that this is to save the climate.
The Department of Petroleum and Energy eventually realized this and came to their senses in this case, but at the same time this may also have been a strategic move in the hope of quieting the opposition when the OED approves two other highly conflicted and controversial wind power cases on the same day.
If this was what the Minister of Oil and Energy had in mind, she has thoroughly miscalculated. Of course we were genuinely happy the decision at Andmyran. We have been fighting this for a very long time. It is very good that the OED has justified it with new knowledge about bogs, climate emissions and also the consideration of, among other things, birds. Nevertheless, this case was completely tragic right from the start, and the decisions from NVE were not only irresponsible and wrong, but they revealed something much more disturbing and downright undemocratic, namely that NVE does not take into account either complaints or consultation input. They had already decided in advance, at the same time as they outwardly put on the purest show that there were both consultation deadlines and appeal deadlines. This turned out to be as far from the truth as it is possible to get. Not only have they completely ignored all input and complaints from the municipality, county council, neighbours, organizations in the Andmyran case, but at the same time they also revealed that they have done this in the other wind power cases as well, and they are also not done referring to this undemocratic and the non-announced practice also in other ongoing cases.
Wind power concessions are NO longer considered a single decision...
No wind power case can be considered a single decision any longer. They are not only too numerous, large and comprehensive, but NVE has now revealed a "practice" in which they have not treated any wind power concessions as individual decisions either. In practice, this means that all decisions from NVE and OED in wind power matters lack legitimacy. If the government now expects the noise about wind power to die down by throwing a small raisin out to the population, then they have now made a serious mistake.
Nor has any wind power plant been investigated or assessed based on total load, despite the fact that the consequences of total load make the nation of Norway unable to comply with national and international targets, agreements and obligations.
The noise? Yes, it has barely begun. Here it blows up into a powerful storm...
- Read (2020-03-17): The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association's demand for OED to hold an open consultation on the new licensing rules BEFORE the government prepares the Storting message on the new licensing rules. (PDF)
- Read (2019-09-25): The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association's complaint against NVE's decision on a postponed deadline and extended concession period for the Andmyran wind power plant. (PDF)
- Read (2020-01-22): The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association's complaint about NVE's transmission letter to OED in the Andmyran case. (PDF)