The country’s supreme court has found that two wind farms situated in western Norway are placing in danger Sami reindeer herders by invading on their pastures. The impact of the ruling was not immediately obvious, but attorneys representing the herders claimed the 151 turbines on Fosen peninsula may be decommissioned. The turbines are part of Europe’s largest onshore windfarm, which will be completed in 2020.
Andreas Bronner, who defended herders who claimed danger from one of these two wind farms, stated, “Their construction has been deemed illegal, and it was going to be illegal to continue running them.” “The supreme court ruling creates a need to explain the situation,” said Ole Berthelsen, who works as the spokesperson for Norway’s oil and energy ministry. It would “communicate later on what exactly to do next,” he added.
The judges ordered the ministry’s licenses to build and operate the turbines null and void, claiming they were given in violation of the international covenant on political and civil rights. Minority ethnic peoples “should not be denied their right, in the community with the other group members, to cherish their culture, to practice and profess their religion, or even to use their language,” according to Article 27 of the UN treaty.
The Norwegian court determined that traditional Sami reindeer herding is indeed a protected cultural practice. “Of course, this is such a surprise to us,” Tom Kristian Larsen, who works as the general manager (GM) of the Fosen Vind, which manages one of the windfarms, stated in response to the verdict. We acted based on definitive licenses issued by the authorities following a lengthy and comprehensive process in which all parties were heard. Reindeer herding was given special attention.”
The corporation said that that it is going to await the ministry’s decision on the next action they are going to take. The Sami, who live in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, number approximately 100,000 people. Some of them do make their living by raising the semi-domesticated reindeer for the purpose of hides and meat.
Fosen Vind is a six-onshore wind farm complex in Fosen, Norway, that was completed in 2018-20. The project, which has a nameplate capability of 1 GW and is Europe’s second-biggest onshore wind farm (behind the Markbygden Wind Farm), has over doubled Norway’s wind power-producing capacity. Fosen Vind is divided into six wind farms, each with its name, owing to its size and the topography of the chosen location.
The site was chosen because of its wind pattern, which is similar to offshore sites, with annual outputs of over 3,600 full load hours at close to 9 m/s. For the total capacity of 1,000 MW, the complex of 6 wind farms will have 278 Vestas wind turbines, 248 V117 well as 30 V112, each with a capacity tuned from 3.45 MW to 3.6 MW. Each turbine has an 87-meter nacelle height and a 117- or 112-meter wing span.