Many Norwegians are positive about wind power development, but the vast majority want it to happen at sea.
Opposition to wind power development in Norway has become increasingly visible over the past year.
Several major development projects have led to politicians shedding tears, mayors want to chain themselves in protest, and opponents are thrown in the balance.
Many local protest groups have begun to organize into a national action group. What many react strongly to are large wind power developments in untouched Norwegian nature.
With this as a backdrop, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) was invited to a summit on offshore wind development in Bergen on Tuesday.
On the same day, she was presented with a survey that gives a signal about what the Norwegian people would like when energy production is to be renewable.
Split on wind power on land
The University of Bergen, together with the Institute of Marine Research and Bergen Municipality, has commissioned the survey.
It was carried out by Opinion in the period 14 to 29 August (2019). 1000 people were asked if they were positive or negative about wind power development in Norway:
- 40 percent of those surveyed answered that they are positive about wind power development on land.
- 36 percent answer that they were negative toward wind power development on land.
Seven out of ten answered that they were positive about offshore wind power development. One in three believe it is a maritime industry Norway should invest in.
The survey reflects the debate that is happening in Norway. There are different and to some extent strong opinions, which has always been the case when impacts to the environment are made, says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg (Frp).
The survey was also distributed by region. In Central Norway, 43 per cent answered that they had a negative view of wind power development on land. In Western Norway, they were fairly divided in the middle, while Austland was most positive with only 1 in 3 responding negatively toward wind power on land.
Resistance has increased
The recent survey is far from the only one that has been conducted to measure support for wind power.
Cicero, the center for climate research, also conducts climate surveys annually. One of the questions is whether Norway should increase wind power production on land.
Last year, one in ten Norwegians were quite or very negative about onshore wind development. This year, every fourth Norwegian answered the same (external link).
In this new survey from UiB over 30 percent of Norwegians view wind power development on land as negative and this opposition appears to be increasing sharply.
Last week, the county politicians in Hordaland also flatly said no to the development of onshore wind power in the proposed areas in the county.
- Based on what we have seen in the consultation round for NVE so far, we see that there is a need to change the licensing system for wind power on land. It is, among other things, about local participation and how long it takes from the license being granted until it is realized, says the Minister of Petroleum.
Researcher on offshore wind
This week a report was presented which says that offshore wind can be a new industrial option for Norway.
If we manage to capture a fifth of the global market for floating offshore wind, values of up to NOK 117 billion can be created in 30 years, Sysla wrote on Monday.
How one will be able to get there, the business community and industry will discuss with the Prime Minister at Tuesday's summit.
But it is more expensive to build wind turbines at sea and it takes longer before they become profitable. At the University of Bergen, PhD student Astrid Nybø is working on how wind turbines can become more efficient.
She does this by studying whether the models used by the industry for the development and design of wind turbines are good enough. Her research can provide a model that makes it safer and more profitable for companies to invest in floating wind power.
- It is very exciting to research this now as there is a lot of focus on it. I hope it can help us get more offshore wind and renewable energy in place, says Nybø.
She points out several advantages of placing the wind turbines off our coast.
- They do not create as large an impact on the landscape, we do not see them when we go hiking. They also produce more energy per turbine, because there is better wind at sea.
Translation to English assisted using Google Translate