A beloved child has many names, as the saying goes. According to a brochure from the "People's Campaign against Davvi wind farm", the whole purpose of developing Davvi wind farm is profit for foreign owners and unscrupulous development companies. Is that true?
«Sustaining a return on invested capital is the foundation of any sound business operation. So naturally, it is expected that wind power will also yield returns for the companies that make substantial investments in such ventures. However, the claim from the People's Campaign overlooks the fact that wind power belongs to all of us and is something we all can and will benefit from as a society» explains Svein Skudal Aase, the Managing Director of Grenselandet DA.
Grenselandet DA is the company behind the permit application for Davvi wind farm. The majority owner is St1, which also owns and operates Norway's Shell stations, as well as a national distribution network that ensures vehicles, boats, and aircraft have the fuel they need across the country.
«Nearly half of the company's profits go into research and investment in renewable energy sources that will help us replace fossil energy sources liter for liter» says Skudal Aase.
Nearly half of the company's profits go into research and investment in renewable energy sources that will help us replace fossil energy sources liter for liter.
The vast majority of the world agrees that we need to transition from fossil energy sources to renewable ones, and the key to making this transition is competitive renewable energy. This is a significant challenge for the established energy industry and a massive opportunity for Northern Norway, which boasts one of the world's best wind resources.
«Some oppose wind power because they perceive we already have enough hydropower, electricity in our sockets, and lights in our homes. But the fact is that new renewable power can be a direct replacement for fossil fuels for vehicles that are difficult to electrify, as we see in today's Norwegian vehicle fleet. To shift from fossil to renewable, you have to change the entire value chain at the same time.»
Skudal Aase further explains that in parallel with the permit application, St1 is working with Horisont Energi to build a factory to produce green ammonia in connection with wind power. Ammonia has the potential to replace fossil energy sources, particularly for shipping.
One of the big questions in the wind power debate in Norway is about ownership. The energy resource is collectively owned. A permit to operate a wind farm is granted to manage this resource on behalf of the community for 30 years. In the case of Davvi wind farm, it's the company Grenselandet DA.
Another question is who benefits from converting the renewable energy resource.
The answer to that is that in Norway, everyone benefits from the energy resource as long as it's harvested. This includes the community through taxes and fees and the company that manages it through returns on invested capital.
A report from the THEMA consulting group concludes that Norway earns approximately 730 million NOK per 1 TWh in direct value creation. This means 150 full-time jobs directly and indirectly, and 1.7 billion NOK in total value creation in the Norwegian economy per year (THEMA, 2019: Green Transformation and Land-Based Wind Power in Norway - A Study of Value Creation and Socioeconomics)..
Direct value creation refers to the values generated by an individual wind power plant or company, while indirect value creation encompasses the ripple effects on subcontractors, businesses reliant on the power, and the society at large.
«But what's most interesting is the value created when the energy is used,» says Skudal Aase, and he explains that building such value chains is a challenging exercise that no one can accomplish alone.
The fact is that new renewable energy can directly replace fossil fuels for vessels that are challenging to electrify, as we see in today's Norwegian automotive sector.
Northern Norway, with its fantastic wind resources, has the potential to see an industrial boom similar to what Northern Sweden is currently experiencing by offering new renewable power at a competitive price. As a result, they can see establishments that would otherwise be made in other parts of the world because cheap renewable energy is extremely attractive to many power-intensive industries. It can involve converting electricity into fuel, steel production, battery factories, and much more. VG commentator Astrid Meland published a lengthy comment earlier this year on how developments in Northern Sweden have been since wind power development gained momentum..
In June, Grenselandet DA had the opportunity to present Davvi wind farm to the Troms and Finnmark County Council. Many good questions were asked after the presentations, and one of these was our comment on the brochure published by the People's Campaign against Davvi wind farm, which was distributed to residents in Lebesby, among other places.
At the time of the meeting, our representatives had not seen the brochure and were unable to comment. However, we have now sent our response to the County Council representatives. You can find the response from Grenselandet's project manager, Harald Dirdal, in its entirety below.