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Spatial assessment of environment-economy trade-offs to reduce wind power conflicts (Windland)

The project identifies how a restructuring of the energy system (increased wind power production) can be secured in a sustainable manner by minimizing environmental impacts.

Wind farms and the environment. (Photo: Colourbox)

About the project

Although wind energy is a part of the solution to combat climate change, it creates new environmental challenges. It is widely acknowledged that increased wind energy production has consequences for the local environment. Wind farms have been found to negatively impact people in their surroundings. They affect landscape aesthetics, produce noise pollution and cause loss of wildlife and other biodiversity both during their construction and operation. The land used for the wind farm is typically lost for recreation purposes and reduced as habitat for flora and fauna. Additional power lines affect landscape aesthetics, wildlife and reduce natural areas.

Furthermore, high voltage power lines in residential neighborhoods may cause residents to worry about potential health effects from electromagnetic radiation. In Norway there has recently been conflicts related to plans for large investments in wind parks, for instance at Fosen, and there was a large conflict related to new grids crossing Hardanger. There is a risk of massive public resistance and conflicts associated with an unprecedented increase in the number of wind farms.

Aim of the project

The aim of the legal research in the project is reducing conflicts by new policy instruments and regulations.The project inquire into how regulations and policy instruments can be designed to reduce potential conflicts of interest by analyzing the legal basis for requiring compensation for additional damages created by the wind power project after the phase of installation. We focus on the cases where damage to nature and landowner property can be higher than identified in the concession.
In this regard, we will look at policy instruments which can be used to achieve an efficient spatial localization of wind power; land use taxes and nature off-set markets.

Our research will also analyse the concession terms, the land lease agreement and the applicable general law - concession rules, tort law, contract law - to identify the liability regime of the concessionaire in case of additional damage. The research will also include the elaboration of a more standard solution in such circumstances and how to best anticipate the extent of conflicts at the phase of contract negotiation and drafting.

Participants

The project is interdisciplinary and include economics, natural science, technology and law.

The project is part of the Windland project led by Statistics of Norway (SN).

Financing

The project is financed via the Norwegian Research Council (NRC). The program started in 2017 and ends in 2020.

Results                                                                                                                                        

The project aims to publish papers in high ranking international peer-reviewed journals. The scientific work will be presented at regular seminars at universities and research institutes during the project period.

Tags: wind power, green energy, ecosystem, environment
Published Oct. 31, 2017 11:41 AM - Last modified Nov. 2, 2017 3:23 PM