In the middle of a spruce forest in the Grohe district of Hedmark, the Swedish solar and wind energy company wants to do just that Landinfra Energy will build solar power plants containing 450,000 solar panels as well as battery storage. It should be called the Duma Solar Park.
The plan is for the facility to be 3,441 in size
– The ongoing electrification of society, especially in the automotive sector and in parts of industry, creates a need for more renewable energy. Landinfra Energy will be part of the transformation and will develop competitive renewable energy projects from an early stage in close cooperation and in partnership with landowners, local stakeholders and investors, Communications Director Mattias Hennius at Landinfra Energy tells Nettavisen.
The company estimates investment costs at NOK 1.8 billion, but no subsidies will be needed, Henius says.
The company has now submitted a notification containing a proposal for the investigation programme NVE. The proposal is late for consultation. Based on the input, NVE creates an investigation program.
This solar power plant could become the largest of its kind in Norway. Its capacity should be 264.6
– It is equivalent to electric heating for up to 15,000 homes, Communications Director Matthias Henius at Landinfra Energy tells Nettavisen.
For comparison: Kongsvinger municipality used a total of 233
Today, Norway has 600 megawatts of solar capacity, equivalent to an output of 450 gigawatts per hour, according to the NVE website. The Department of Energy's goal is to produce eight terawatt-hours of solar energy annually.
Meanwhile, the European Union has challenging ambitions on the solar front. In the new Energy in Buildings Directive, the EU requires member states to gradually introduce solar cells in all buildings from 2027 where possible, according to Press release from the European Commission. Norway is committed To implement the Directive through the European Economic Area Agreementaccording to Snl.no.
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What the cost of electricity is is currently unclear.
– It is too early to detail the numbers now, says Henius.
My income is important
The solar park will be able to provide income to landowners. Harald Wall is one of several landowners who will set aside areas for the project.
– This can help secure rental income in the coming years, says landowner Harald Wall. To Netavisin.
– It will give the municipality income. It will be part of the green transition.
According to Landinfra Energy, a facility of this size could generate property tax income of NOK 13 million per year. Mayor Ron Greenberg (AFP) in the municipality of Grou is satisfied with this.
– An additional 13 million in Grue would mean a lot to the depleted municipal coffers. At the same time, the municipality has many considerations to take care of, and a comprehensive evaluation must be made when the project is put forward for consideration, Greenberg tells Netavisen.
Wind power plants have not been common in the area, but solar energy is high on the agenda of the municipality of Grou.
– The Municipality of Gru signed an agreement with Indra Company regarding the development of solar energy in parts of the Organized Industrial Zone. It is of course about finances, but it is also about social responsibility to contribute to meeting the need for more renewable energy. “We believe locating this alongside vacant industrial plots will also increase the attractiveness of establishing new businesses,” says the mayor.
– You will get more deforestation
However, there are many objections to ground-mounted solar installations. This could lead to more deforestation if it occurs on agricultural land, says Ode-Ingrid Krefting, head of department at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Norwegian Agriculture Directorate recently Investigating the impacts of solar power plants on agricultural and forested areas. Today the situation is as follows:
As shown in our recently published report on the consequences of ground-mounted solar development, about 60,000 acres of forest are cleared annually. After compensation for afforestation, net deforestation amounts to about 22,000 dunums per year, says department head Odd-Ingrid Krefting at the Norwegian Agriculture Directorate in Netavsen.
– Deforestation for solar energy development is therefore in addition to deforestation that occurs for other downsizing purposes, and will therefore represent a new driver behind deforestation in Norway.
So far, deforestation caused by ground-mounted solar production has been modest, Krefting explains.
Not suitable as a living area for animals
But before it becomes relevant, an impact assessment must be prepared. Part of that mission will be making sure the facility won't harm wildlife. In the report submitted by Landinfra Energy, it appears that the facility will have a negative impact on nature.
“Solar power plants could have impacts on wildlife in the area. Areas with solar panels would not be suitable for most mammal and bird species to live. In addition to direct impacts within the planning area, indirect impacts could be significant.”
It also states that fencing must be considered to prevent animals from entering and causing harm to themselves or the facility.
“Fences can block deer migration routes, and wetlands and water bodies may lose their value as resting areas for migratory birds,” Landinfra Energy’s letter says.
They say they will prescribe measures that can reduce any negative effects.
– Hole in the hat
The Sapima environmental organization, which works to stop the loss of natural diversity, does not oppose solar energy, but believes that the forest should not be used for this type of industry. They participate in the consultation round.
Deforestation of large areas to create solar power plants is unfortunate. Cheating with the word “garden” would not be better. These will be large, fenced industrial facilities that will prevent freedom of movement and migration of animals, says Secretary-General Christian Steele in Sapema to Netafsen.
The forest is an important ecosystem, as we find half of the species threatened with extinction in Norway. The forest is also important for sequestering and storing carbon and producing wood. In fact, Norway already has a deforestation problem.
This must stop, says the Secretary-General.
– The government should take necessary measures and ensure that NVE rejects solar energy that requires deforestation, and direct solar development towards “gray areas” such as building rooftops, industrial areas, parking lots and the like. Now almost all solar applications are in forests, which is a completely wrong path. The industry would benefit from not proceeding as it did with wind power – doing an adequate job of avoiding destroying nature from the first installation.
– Place the boards on the surfaces
Solar energy is good, but it must be added to existing roofs on buildings and housing, believes leader Trolls Gullussen of the Nature Conservation Society.
Norway does not need to place solar panels in nature until they are placed on all surfaces. I'm skeptical of the idea of installing solar power on the ground. If there is a point, it is mainly because the land has already been destroyed. That doesn't seem to be the case here. There are various forests and forests here, which are also valuable. Basically, it's grabbing more land, and it shouldn't be necessary.
The Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation also believes that this plant will disturb wildlife.
– It will prevent animals from passing through the area.
It will be necessary to conduct an appropriate impact assessment.
Mayor Grue Rune Grenberg will take nature into account.
– It is precisely these considerations that we as a municipality must have good analyzes to influence and which will form the basis of our evaluations.
– Few conflicts
Building such a facility does not happen in the blink of an eye. The project must go through a long licensing process first.
Today there is an energy deficit in southern Norway. Large-scale solar with battery storage could fill the gap relatively immediately. Regardless of how energy is produced, development will affect where it will be developed. At the same time, the purpose of licensing processes is to minimize the impact as much as possible, and the Douma solar power plant is no exception, says Henius, communications director at Landinfra.
Our previous investigations showed that the area consists mainly of productive forest that is largely ready for felling. There are relatively few conflicts when it comes to biodiversity and outdoor living. A relatively small population is affected by the solar power plant. But this must be examined carefully.
Henius stresses that the project must undergo an impact assessment.
– The notice we sent out for consultation last year includes a proposal for a study program that the NVE must decide on before we can apply for a licence. The NVE can, within the scope of the licensing process, demand adaptation of the project and demand that the necessary measures be taken to reduce the impact. We will examine measures to increase biodiversity as well as the benefits of adding renewable energy to the region.
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