Demonstrations in Oslo over wind power turbines in Trøndelag haven’t prevented Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre from considering more such turbines on Norway’s Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. He thinks wind power can replace the coal that currently provides Svalbard with its power.
Støre was in Svalbard this week, as far away as he could get from the protests in Oslo while still in Norwegian territory. The last of Svalbard’s coal mines is due to close in 2025, because of climate concerns and pressure from the UN, and new sources of alternative energy are needed.
That can include both solar and wind power, Støre told new bureau NTB on Thursday. His comments came just before his government issued a long overdue apology to Norway’s indigenous Sami people for erecting wind turbines at Fosen in Trøndelag that violate Samis’ human rights, according to the Supreme Court, because they disturb traditional reindeer herding.
Turbines on Svalbard would need to be “thoroughly evaluated,” Støre said, “but it’s clear that the future for energy supplies on Svalbard must be renewable.” Asked whether it’s wise to build turbines in a place with such vulnerable nature, Støre said “the future is renewable, we can’t get around that. We must make decisions so we can live with them.”