By Lars Erik Taraldsen
Norway is set to tighten rules for building wind turbines, caving in to massive protests from locals.
A government proposal on Friday to slow down the development of onshore wind power comes after increasing local resistance mirrors sentiment in other European countries. Norway already decided to scrap a plan for a new permission framework last year.
Norway, which has already developed a massive hydropower network, faces an increased need for clean energy for the electrification of everything from transportation to oil platforms.
The proposed changes include that permits are valid for a shorter time before construction starts, height restrictions on turbines and noise requirements, in addition to local acceptance of the projects. For instance, a turbine can not be closer to a house or cabin than four times the height of the turbines.
Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister, who presented the white paper with the proposed changes on Friday, felt the wrath of protesters herself. Only a week ago, Tina Bru experienced being blocked physically from attending an event on the west coast while being pummeled with insults, she wrote on her Facebook page.
“It’s legitimate to be opposed to wind power, both in principle and where you live — I understand that wind power can stoke strong feelings and heated debate,” Bru said at a press conference on Friday. “But I reject harassment, threats and vandalism.”
Although Norway has developed onshore wind in the recent years, hydropower is meeting virtually all the nation’s power needs.