The Norwegian government has threatened to shutter a large wind farm in the northern part of the country after reports of wind storms destroying turbines, sending parts flying.
Norwegian Water and Energy Directorate (NVE), the agency that oversees the nation's water and energy resources, penned a letter this week to the operator of Ånstadblåheia Vindpark in Sortland, Norway, expressing concern about falling debris at the site and the broader technical integrity of the plant. The agency said it would consider further action including a potential government-ordered shut down if the operator doesn't address the situation.
"In Norway there are clear regulations for how wind parks can operate," Anne-Johanne Kråkenes, NVE's section head, told FOX Business. "This relates to several aspects, i.e., safety, environmental impact and local communities. NVE’s responsibility as a directorate is to supervise and ensure that these regulations are followed."
"NVE has received information from Ånstadblåheia vindpark regarding falling objects. We have also received similar reports from the local community," Kråkenes continued. "Based on this, NVE has had dialogue with Ånstadblåheia vindpark."
NVE gave the company until Oct. 12 to provide documentation it was rectifying the reported deficiencies. It noted that a shutdown of the plant would be a "last resort."
"This will hopefully not be the outcome in this case," Kråkenes said.
Meanwhile, Noor Nooraddin, the general manager of the wind farm, blamed high wind speeds, saying wind turbines struggle to withstand such conditions.
"The weather and wind in Vesterålen are probably among the toughest things you can subject such machinery to," Nooraddin told Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. "We have monitored the situation carefully and have always had an ongoing dialogue with the NVE, the municipality and the alpine resort."
Complaints of wind turbine parts falling to the ground at the park date back about two years.
Ånstadblåheia Vindpark went into operation in 2018 and consists of 14 total turbines, which have a total capacity of 50 megawatts.
Meanwhile, Norway and other European countries continue to push a green transition away from fossil fuels to renewable power such as wind and solar. Wind power in Norway has ticked up tenfold over the last decade, accounting for 6.5% of total electricity generation in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.
"Norway will reduce its emissions — and we will help others to cut theirs and adapt. There is no trade-off between mitigation and adaptation," Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre remarked at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021. "We can succeed in both."
He continued: "This transition will make a difference in Norway. But our ambition goes further: We aim to develop and export new technology that can be of use beyond our borders. Norway is positioned to take a lead in developing ocean-based solutions such as offshore wind; green shipping; carbon capture, utilization and storage; hydrogen; and electric mobility."