Konsesjonsprosessen for vindkraftutbygginger – juridiske rammer ('Concession Processes for Wind Power Developments in Norway – an Analysis of the Legal Framework')

FNI Report 1/2018. Lysaker, FNI, 2018, 49 p.

The concession process for wind power developments in Norway is mainly regulated by two Acts; the Energy Act and the Planning and Building Act. This report shows that the legislation and management practices on wind power developments involve a significant centralization of decision-making power to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Water Resources and Energy Directorate. The legislation for wind power developments has become more detailed, but much discretion is still left to management practices, especially under the Energy Act. The relationship between concession decisions under the Energy Act and planning decisions under the Planning and Building Act remains unclear. Administrative guidelines is of great importance in the wind power sector. The report indicates that inadequate and misleading guidelines create significant legal uncertainty for developers and interests affected by wind power developments. Fifteen years of promoting regional planning for wind power development has in essence been unsuccessful as the plans have to a limited extent been followed up and have become obsolete due to decisions to develop a national framework for wind power developments. Whether and how the national framework will be followed up through local and regional planning processes remains unclear. Environmental impact assessments have been supplemented by thematic conflict assessments, and the latter have been the subject of substantial criticism from the Directorate for Nature Management and the National Heritage Board. The report questions whether it will be appropriate to continue thematic conflict assessments when the national framework is in place. The development of wind power in Norway is far behind neighbouring countries, Sweden and Denmark, despite the fact that development has been a political priority in Norway since the late 1990s. The report shows that the Water Resources and Energy Directorate must bear a significant share of responsibility for not meeting the policy goals for wind power development in Norway.