Blåser i Finnskogen? En sammenligning av energirettferdighet og skogfinnenes rolle i vindkraftutbygging på norsk og svensk side av Finnskogen ('Wind power licensing in the Norwegian and Swedish parts of Finnskogen')

FNI Report 1/2020. Lysaker, FNI, 2020, 47 p. In Norwegian

Restructuring global energy from fossil fuels to renewable energy is highlighted as one of the answers to achieve the UN sustainable development goals. Developing wind power is ”in the air”, and this thesis compares two specific wind power projects in Finnskogen. Finnskogen is a landscape area along both sides of the Norwegian/Swedish border, between Innlandet in Norway and Värmland in Sweden. The area is named after «skogfinnene», who are today recognized as a national minority group in both Norway and Sweden. Preserving Finnskogen nature is important for re-telling skogfinnenes cultural heritage. On the other hand, the area’s wind and waterfalls carries great potential for renewable energy. In 2016, a wind power license was granted to Kjølberget Wind Park on the Norwegian side of Finnskogen. In 2018, a wind power application was revoked for Mangslidberget on the Swedish side of Finnskogen. This was a direct result of Torsby municipality’s wind power plan, that defined Finnskogen as a “stopping area” for wind power development. Two similar renewable energy projects in the same area, but different countries, resulted in two different outcomes.

The report is a comparative research of the Norwegian and Swedish licencing processes. The framework for ”energy justice” focuses on how we can achieve socially equal energy conversion. The research questions asked how Skogfinnene are recognized, involved and compensated in relation to wind turbines installations on the Norwegian and Swedish side of Finnskogen, and what factors may explain the different outcomes. The values of Skogfinnene raise an interesting question because of their special protection through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which both Norway and Sweden have ratified. The data collection was done by means of document analysis, as well as semistructured interviews with a selection of representatives of Skogfinnene, central authorities and the wind energy companies.

The research finds a lower degree of recognition of Skogfinnene in Norway than in Sweden. This may have impacted various outcomes that explain why Swedish and Norwegian licencing practices differ: low recognition of Skogsfinnenes on the Norwegian side led to low participation in the licensing process. Low participation resulted in low impacts to change the wind park during the licencing process, which in turn led to a greater dissatisfaction with the Kjølberget Wind Park approval. Finally, the thesis draws possible factors which may have influenced and contributed to inequalities between the Norwegian and Swedish licensing process:
(1) The different role of municipalities
(2) Skogfinnene had a local, public ”protection” in Sweden
(3) The wind parks' different locations in Finnskogen
(4) Time differences
(5) Different understanding of ”landscape area”
(6) Kjølberget wind park ”aroused” skogfinnene to participate in the planning process at Mangslidberget.