Environmental court appeal delays construction of Statkraft and SCA wind farms in Sweden

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Environmental court appeal delays construction of Statkraft and SCA wind farms in Sweden

February 21, 2010 - 18:48
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STOCKHOLM, Feb. 18, 2010 (Press Release) -An appeal has been lodged against the licences for all six wind farms that Statkraft and SCA plan to construct in Jämtland and Västernorrland - Sweden's largest ever expansion of wind power. The appeals will result in delays of about one year.

The project consists of 460 wind turbines with a combined electrical production of 2,400 GWh - equivalent to the total amount of wind power produced in the country today.

"It is unfortunate that we are unable to commence work on the wind power project now at a time of low economic activity when job creation would be welcome," says Bengt Vernmark, President of Statkraft Vind Sverige. "However, we firmly believe in the project and hope that the Environmental Court will process the matter as quickly as possible. We are hopeful that we will receive a ruling in the autumn and that we can then launch the project in 2011."

Immediately prior to and just after year-end, the county administrative boards of Jämtland and Västernorrland approved all six of the wind farms that Statkraft and SCA plan to construct.

Before the rulings gained legal force, an appeal was lodged against the licenses by, among others, affected Sami villages, ornithological societies and affected municipalities.

"The appeals relate to the effects on reindeer pasture, wildlife and the local environment, and the aircraft warning lights that must be fitted at the top of tall wind turbines," says Åke Westberg, SCA's project manager for wind power. "It is our opinion that satisfactory solutions exist to resolve the majority of the issues that have been raised."

"Throughout the entire process, we have conducted a close dialog with the citizens, politicians and authorities concerned. We have always been prepared to discuss compensation for the damages that the project may cause for those affected. The county administrative boards' environmental assessment delegation determined that the proposals that we presented entail a limited impact on wildlife and nature, at the same time as we fulfil the need for clean energy and can offer much-needed employment in the region," says Bengt Vernmark.

This is the largest expansion of wind power in Sweden's history. The combined output amounts to 1,000 MW and total production is estimated at 2.4 TWh. This corresponds to 1.5% of Sweden's entire electricity consumption and is equal to the combined production from wind power in the country today.

The Environmental Court's processing times vary between six and 12 months. On condition that the Environmental Court approves the wind farms, construction is scheduled to commence in spring 2011.If this is the case, the first wind farm is expected to be completed in 2012.