Picture: Kurt Oddekalv in conversation with NVE's watercourses and energy director Kjetil Lund
The Norwegian Environmental Association was present at NVE's launch of the National Plan for wind power on 1 April 2019. We should have hoped that what we were presented with was an April Fool's joke, because this was really depressing. Only after they have now handed out an enormous number of licenses like candy on May 17 do they come up with a plan. Brilliant…
NVE has now surveyed the entire country and has selected 13 areas which they believe are particularly favorable for developing wind power. Of course, this happens after much has already been developed or a license has been granted. In several places, such areas that have already been destroyed by wind power developments are excluded from the new areas they have targeted. Now it is the turn of the last remaining "tenderloin". Look at Trøndelag, for example, one of the places in the country that is already heavily burdened by developments. Here, the new areas fit in nicely between those that are already destroyed.
See NVE's 13 selected areas here. In the menu at the top left, you can select a map layer and see both what has already been built and what is to be built (granted a licence) in addition to the new areas. These are depressing and very strong scenes, and you are warned against shock when you really see how much of our country is now actually being destroyed with the amazing wind power.
Oslo and central Eastland
All wind power is built outside in the districts and approved in Oslo. It therefore becomes almost a matter of course that the whole of Oslo and Akershus will now be "protected" for developments. Only when you get down to Østfold and Vestfold do we find areas they want to develop.
Rogaland, Agder and Northern NorwayIn Rogaland and Agder counties, which are also already heavily affected and under enormous pressure, a significant area covering large parts of these counties has been marked. This seems to have a clear connection with the famous export cables to Europe and Germany, as it is a confirmation that proximity to the market is important to reduce distance and power loss in the line network now that we have to export all the new power. Another confirmation of this is that large parts of Nordland and Troms have been left out, as transmission over long distances down to southern Norway and Europe from here is not profitable or sensible in view of the power loss.
In addition to the massive developments that have already been approved in Rogaland in the south, and in Sogn og Fjordane/Sunnmøre, significant new areas are planned in southern Rogaland, North Rogaland/Sunnhordaland, on both sides of the Sognefjord from North Hordaland/Stølsheimen and to Høyanger/Sunnfjord, and further north at Nordfjord/Sunnmøre. These are massive areas that represent some of the finest landscape nature we have left. And again we see that the areas that have already been developed the most have been left out of the new areas. Now they go for the last remaining tenderloin...
What is power loss?
The power loss during transmission can very easily be compared to carrying water in a leaking bucket. The amount of water left in the bucket when we arrive is less than what we filled in before we left. We have the same principle when we build out in Trøndelag to transfer the power to Munich, or when we have two wind turbines in Rogaland that will produce power for Zurich. The longer the distance, the more we lose along the way. If they need more electricity in Europe, they should rather develop more renewable power generation in Europe. How many Alta power plants in size do we have to build extra with wind turbines here in Norway because of what is wasted in the power grid because they need more power in Europe? This madness has no sense…
The pulpit in Rogaland
The pulpit in Rogaland is one of our top tourist destinations and it is actively used to market Norway as a tourist destination all over the world. During the question round after the presentation, they were able to say that the area around the Pulpit in Rogaland had been taken out and was not to be developed. However, what they have elegantly left out is the fact that the Gilja wind farm in Gjesdal municipality, Rogaland is right in the middle of the view from the Pulpit itself, and NVE has not only granted a license to the facility, but also approved that they can also increase both size and height considerably on the turbines. When the facility is built, the tourists will therefore have large turbines in their field of vision in front of them with powerful flashing lights from morning to evening. It is only in Norway that we manage to destroy our most important tourist destination and attraction for a few kilowatts. Only in Norway...(!).
Now we can also add that for several years there has been active work to protect the tenderloin itself from wild and beautiful fjord nature in the surrounding area Preikestolen as a new National Park. Now large turbines and flashing lights are visible in large parts of this area in the middle. Is there really any point in creating a National Park where the experience of magnificent and untouched nature is destroyed with powerful flashing lights and giant turbines on the horizon? Wind power's destruction knows no bounds...
Wind power and outdoor life
They have now investigated a number of areas that will be affected by wind power developments, but have left out perhaps the most important one, outdoor life. NVE has left out outdoor activities in its analyzes and reports. Why? Are they afraid they would become too negative if they investigated this? The government has previously produced a report "Nature experience, outdoor life and our mental health" (03.06.2009). When NVE has now investigated the consequences of wind power developments, they have thus omitted this. Could this be deliberate?
In this provision it is stated, among other things, the following; «The project's anchoring: The project "Outdoor life and mental health" has its roots in the Nordic Council of Ministers' "Environmental Action Program 2005-2008" where "Environment and health" is a consistent theme. The Council of Ministers has chosen to focus on four main themes in this period. Main theme 1, "Environment and health" has in its subchapter. 1.3 "Public health and nature experience" i.a. an aim to analyze the connections between outdoor life and public health. The purpose of the project has been to follow up the environmental action program on this point. Furthermore, main theme 2, "Nature, cultural environment and outdoor life" has its subchapter. 3.3 goal of securing the traditional Nordic outdoor life."
Wind power and tourism
In the National framework for wind power – Thematic report on tourism (NVE Report No 14/2019), a thematic report that NVE itself has authored, it is quite familiarly stated in the Summary: "None of the studies that have been presented document a negative impact on the tourism industry as a result of existing wind power development."
Note that it is NVE that has prepared this report itself, while those below Method and participation can state that "The report has been discussed with NHO Reiseliv, the Norwegian Tourist Association and Innovation Norway." It appears rather strange here that NVE can claim that "None of the studies that have been presented document a negative impact on the tourism industry as a result of existing wind power development."
NHO Reiseliv, however, expresses great skepticism about wind power development, and clearly states that "- Nature-based tourism has multiplied in recent years and represents thousands of jobs. We are concerned if it turns out that a lot of nature could be lost in areas that are already important, or that may have future important significance for Norwegian tourism, says director of communications Merete Habberstad at NHO Reiseliv." This is in stark contrast to NVE's claim.
NHO Reiseliv has also previously sounded a warning against wind power development's negative consequences for the tourism industry. In their Political case: Wind power must be added to suitable areas for industry, they write, among other things, "- It is precisely the experience industry that can contribute to sustainable growth and achieve the tourism report's goal of using "the whole country, all year round" and that without it being visible in nature after they have returned home. If you build huge windmills in the places where this industry could potentially grow, you put an effective stop to it for all future, says Krohn Devold." Read this whole case at NHO Reiseliv.
The Norwegian Tourist Association DNT, with whom NVE also claims to have discussed this report, expresses itself in at least equally strong terms when it comes to wind power's destruction of the natural landscape and the population's loss of nature experiences when more and more of our most beautiful areas are now being converted into industrial areas. Feel free to taste NVE's claim in their report one more time... "None of the studies that have been presented document a negative impact on the tourism industry as a result of existing wind power development."..(!?)
Where does the road go next?
There is of course a lot of material to be reviewed, but the first impression that has now been presented is depressing. What is presented is one thing, but at least as important is everything that is missing or omitted. This is brewing up to clear conflict and massive popular resistance...
Dear NVE and Minister of Oil and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg
You are here completely out of step with the people and important business interests in this country. We cannot continue to destroy the last we have of our important and indispensable natural areas for an industry that only extracts short-term profit in a 25-year concession period, with its huge facilities and eternal destruction. This is neither sustainable nor to our own benefit as we already produce more clean green renewable energy than we use ourselves. We have a lot to go on, enough for significant electrification for several years to come. Still, you welcome foreign energy companies, and almost like an original sin, we alone must bear the responsibility for Europe's enormous energy consumption. We therefore sacrifice our beautiful nature so that cities such as Munich and Zurich do not have to develop their own landscape. We will give away our very heritage silver for their hunger for energy and "green" conscience, improve their competitiveness with cheap electricity while we ourselves pay a higher price for energy and weaken our own competitive advantage. If we now sacrifice our valuable nature for their voracious needs, what will we pass on to our children and to future generations?