Discussion: Mathias Fischer from the think tank Initiativ Vest wrote on 24 December in Aftenbladet under the title “A new spring for wind energy” that the problems with wind energy have been solved, and that we must now invest heavily in this in the vulnerable mountainous landscape of western Norway.
This is a discussion post. The post was written by an external contributor, and quality assured by Aftenbladet's debate department. Opinions and analyzes are the author's own.
Other energy sources are not discussed. Fisher says nothing about the purpose of wind energy development: he wants wind energy – because it is wind energy. A view completed by the rest of Norway in 2019.
The area that requires a power source
The fundamental problem with wind energy can never be solved. It is our most land-intensive energy source other than biofuels, and the plants proposed now would be much worse than the plants that caused major protests in Furuya and Haramsuya. Planned with turbines between 250 and 285 metres, one must have wider and smoother routes to transport increasingly longer turbine blades. Besides massive natural encroachments on the western mountainous landscape and fjord, larger turbines produce more noise and visually dominate larger areas.
Another unsolvable problem is that new wind power will require a corresponding amount of new adjustable hydropower as NVE warns of power shortages in the power system. No business can find it profitable to remain open only when it is windy. This makes Fisher's idea worse by asking municipal power companies, which own many aging hydroelectric plants that need to be upgraded, to invest in wind power instead.
The resistance is huge. The majority of the country's mayors and municipal managers have already been approached by wind developers in the last two years with promises of large sums of money, but in southern Norway the municipality of Birkrem is still the only one that has taken a clearly positive view of the new idea. Wind power station.
Part of the skepticism can be attributed to the fact that municipalities must approve the zoning in an irreversible process – before they know where and how many turbines will be located. This is only later determined by the developer and the state in processes in which the municipality is not allowed to participate.
But the most important reason behind their refusal is that the residents are strongly opposed to it. This is fundamentally based on most people's love of nature, wildlife and the outdoors, as well as the growing awareness that we have a global nature crisis that needs to be taken seriously – on the same level as climate change.
Proposing wind energy without fully considering the options is just a waste of valuable time.
Knowledge cannot be ignored
Fisher criticizes the government for not talking enough about wind energy. He says they must change public opinion. But the mission is impossible. One cannot ignore the knowledge we have gained over time about the nature crisis and population decline, or forget the wind energy interventions that one has witnessed. And more money for the municipality does not compensate for the fact that people stop enjoying there without nature and silence.
In opinion polls conducted around the fall elections in several county municipalities, it was found that the groups most negative about wind energy development were young people and women. These are the groups that the region's municipalities cannot afford to ignore.
Society really needs more power to implement sensible industrial and climate reduction initiatives, which must happen quickly. But proposing wind energy without fully investing in the options is simply a waste of valuable time. The clock is ticking as discussions continue for years, and the result is the same everywhere: people don't want it.
The plan can be borrowed
If Fisher and the VEST Initiative are interested in doing well on energy in the near future, they must have a better plan than the extra hype about wind energy from an unpopular government that might make people forget about the natural crisis. Fortunately, Motvind Norge has such a plan that can be borrowed freely – “Energy policy on nature's terms”. It shows that with appropriate investment in energy efficiency, hydropower retrofit and rooftop solar, we can cover all the energy needs of climate reduction and new industry in 2050, if we deprioritize plans for ubiquitous data centers and hydrogen exports. In addition, there are exciting industrial opportunities for Norway in wave energy and geothermal energy on the continental shelf.
For the sake of nature, climate and business, let's not waste several years of faith and hope that wind energy will become common!