Norway Says ‘No Way’: Norwegian Government Faces Furious Backlash Against Industrial Wind Power

Pollster’s claims about everyone being in favour of wind power hit a brick wall just as soon as wind turbines get speared into their backyards. Funny about that.

Delivering a grinding, thumping, pulsing cacophony of low-frequency noise; destroying bog lands, waterways and poisoning underground water supplies; throwing 15 tonne blades to the four winds; sparking wildfires; slaughtering birds and bats; and ruining pristine landscapes – including the wholesale clear-felling of forests – it doesn’t take people long to turn against industrial wind power. And, so it goes in Norway.

In the frozen North of the country, the nomadic Sami are already on the war path, suing to prevent the destruction of their reindeer grazing lands: Norway’s Reindeer Farmers Sue Swedish-German Wind Power Outfit To Save Their Herd

And, it seems, that the hostility against Norway’s wind industry is as contagious as a Chinese flu.

Wind Farm Backlash Grows in Oil-Rich Norway Ahead of Election
Bloomberg Green
Lars Erik Taraldsen, Lars Paulsson, and Jesper Starn
9 December 2020

After being harassed on social media and told repeatedly that she’s a traitor who should be in jail, Norway’s 34-year-old energy minister is bracing for a controversial election campaign.

In the country that has amassed a trillion-dollar fortune built on the revenue from oil and natural gas exports, it’s the green energy revolution that is stoking one of the loudest debates. Many voters have had enough of the machines that stand as tall as skyscrapers. Tina Bru is getting abuse both online and when out on foot.

“I’m not afraid of the angry messages, but I can be worried about the general political debate, how hard it can be in some cases, such as with wind power,” Bru said in an interview.

The protests stem from last decade’s installation boom. Wind output has risen almost six-fold and now feeds about 4% of Norway’s total electricity, with hydro-electric plants supplying most of the rest. By the mid-2020s, a vast amount of Norway’s substantial oil industry will be powered by renewables, according to the energy regulators. The grid company Statnett SF expects a 30% jump in demand by 2040 with the urge to electrify both industry and transport.

While the cost of wind power is falling, a growing number of voters want to see less of it. They’d rather see alternatives like more hydro or even fossil fuels — which would clash with the government’s environmental goals. A survey in November showed that only 36% were favorable about onshore wind as an energy source, down from as much as 84% in 2011. Oil’s popularity has increased to 29% from just 16% five years ago, according to Kantar’s Climate Barometer, which polled 2,085 people.

The backlash among the public and lawmakers has gone so far that industry consultant StormGeo Nena Analysis said last month that it’s unlikely any more wind farms will be built on land in the decade to 2034. Statnett is even more skeptical, seeing no further large scale developments ever except for offshore.

Wind farm opponents come from all walks of life. They include environmentalists worried about the impact on nature and wildlife and people who work in the oil and gas industry.

The election is due in September, and the main political parties are starting to adjust their programs. Some that previously backed onshore wind are now against it, including traditional climate parties the Socialist Left Party, the Green Party and the Liberals.

The Socialist Left had turbines on the front page of their program in 2013, but are now going for a ban. While Bru’s ruling Conservative Party plans to improve licensing to give local communities a voice and greater consideration to the environment, both the far right and far left have made no to wind their main platform.

Eivind Salen, a teacher and chairman of resistance group Motvind, says they should all go even further. “We want to choke it completely.”

While most people settle for peaceful demonstrations, there have been some serious incidents, said Andreas Thon Aasheim, a special adviser at the Norwegian wind lobby organization.

“Car brakes have been tampered with. Excavators have been set on fire. Plugs on machines have been taken off, causing diesel and fluid leaks,” he said.
Bloomberg Green

Norwegians determined to put wind industry on ice.

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December 20, 2020 at 12:30AM

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