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07 Aug 2020, 14:47
Benjamin Wehrmann

Indigenous group in Norway fears impact of German investor's wind power project

Tageszeitung (taz)

German energy traders are buying more electricity produced with renewable energy installations in Norway, aiming to fulfilling green energy requirements in Germany, a practice that poses a threat to Indigenous groups in the Nordic country, Reinhard Wolff writes in the Tageszeitung (taz). Traders in Germany buy the Nordic power in order to declare a greater part of the electricity they draw from the German grid as clean energy, regardless of the actual power mix. A wind power project 900 kilometres north of Norway's capital Oslo financed by a German investor, for instance, is threatening local members of the Indigenous Sami people, Wolff writes. The 72 turbines will be built on migration routes of Sami reindeer herds, which is why the regional government rejected the planned location and NGOs sued against it in court. While an agreement between the reindeer farmers and the wind farm investors stipulated that a consensus on the project must be found regarding the animals' well-being, construction proceeded even though no such consensus existed, with Norway's energy ministry citing high costs if the project lay idle. Aili Keskitalo, President of Norway's Sami Parliament, said "green energy" often amounted to "green colonisation" to the Indigenous people, Wolff writes.

Norway and Germany cooperate on several energy transition projects, such as providing Norwegian hydro power storage capacity for German offshore wind power or possible carbon capture and storage (CCS) options in Norwegian territory. However, German wind power projects in the much less densely populated Nordic country have already irked locals before and increasing conflicts around scarce land resources are seen as a potentially major obstacle for renewable power expansion that requires early and inclusive solutions to the benefit of all stakeholders.

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