Facts on the two Fosen wind farms and the Supreme court ruling
The "Fosen case" was a civil lawsuit regarding the discretionary assessment of compensation to the reindeer owners at Fosen in connection with the construction of Storheia wind farm and Roan wind farm.
The matter of financial compensation to the reindeer herders was dealt with both in the district court and the appeal court, where there were judgments on the scope of compensation in both courts.
During proceedings in the Supreme Court, the discretion was refused, which means that they did not take a decision on how much the compensation should be. This is because, on the basis of the evidence presented, the court considered that the license had been granted on an insufficient basis.
Prior to the start of construction, in 2016 at the latest, the reindeer owners at Nord-Fosen gave their written consent and signed that they had no objections to the validity of the concession and expropriation permit for the wind farm in Roan. They also agreed to the startup of the construction since it was only the amount of compensation that was unclear.
At the initiative of The Norwegian state, Roan Vind, Nord-Fosen Siida, and the Ministry of Oil and Energy meet to start mediation in May 2023, with the aim of reaching an amicable agreement among the parties. Since then It has been arranged several mediation meetings where all three involved parties have meet. The voluntary mediation is led by national mediator Mats Ruland.
What does the Supreme Court say?
The Supreme Court writes that the OED in the licensing process did not take the necessary considerations to ensure mitigation measures, and that the reindeer herders at Fosen "in the longer term" is threatened as a result of these deficiencies in the licence.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Norwegian State has violated human rights by granting a concession without adequate mitigating measures.
The judgment does not say that the wind farms must be demolished. On the contrary, the Supreme Court Justice has subsequently clarified: The Supreme Court clarifies that the verdict on the wind turbines at Fosen does not mean that they must be demolished. Read the judgment here (in Norwegian only).
The reindeer herding Sami had not brought a case alleging that the wind turbines should be taken down, and then this fell outside the scope of the case, says the head of the judges in the Supreme Court, Justice Toril Marie Øie to Adresseavisen (10.01.2022).
In contrast to the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court considered that the proposal for winter feeding of the reindeer in a fenced area was not sufficient to safeguard the Sami's right to their cultural practice.
What does the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) say?
The state interprets the wording of the judgment as a matter where the basis for reindeer husbandry would be "threatened in the long term". By this the MPE means that there is time to explore how all interests can be safeguarded within the framework set by the law.
The MPE started immediately after the Supreme Court verdict working with new investigations with a goal to establish an impact assessment program to identify "adequate mitigating measures" that can contribute to ensuring that reindeer husbandry's rights are safeguarded in the future.
MPE minister Terje Aasland (Ap) says the state is committed to resolving the conflict that has arisen, and that wind power and reindeer herding can take place in the same area.The government has in a statement apologized to the Fosen Sámi that the concession decision has violated human rights.
What is Aneo and Roan Vind doing?
Roan Vind relates to the license granted by the State at OED, which gives the company permission to operate wind power production in Roan for 25 years. The license is valid until the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has concluded a new license decision. Thus, the owners of the wind farms operate within the framework set by Norwegian law.
The violation of human rights consists in the granting of a licence, which the Norwegian State is responsible for. The builders have not violated human rights.
Our operations do not pose a threat to reindeer herders today or in the near future. This will only be a problem "in the longer term" if mitigating measures are not put in place.
We comply with licenses and other frameworks set by the authorities in all our projects and operations. Throughout the lifetime of all our facilities, in the lead-up to and during the operational phase, we contribute to ensuring that the authorities have an up-to-date knowledge base at all times.
Roan Vind gave input to the MPE governed impact assessment program in January 2022 and is working to ensure that the investigation process goes as quickly as possible.
The operation can continue as long as there is an ongoing process to establish sufficient mitigation measures so that the concession is in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment.
For Roan Vind, it is important to pay close attention to the situation of reindeer husbandry, also during the period until the case is finally resolved. The company is committed to taking measures to prevent the threat of negative impacts occurring, during the process. The company has maintained ongoing dialogue with the siida regarding its needs for possible mitigating temporary measures, and has both offered and paid compensation for this interim period. Roan Vind has also covered the siida's costs for legal assistance. The company will continue to monitor this closely and hopes for a soon clarification to the matter.
The wind farms at Fosen
Roan wind farm:
Start-up in 2018.
Annual production: 884 GWh.
(equivalent to annual consumption for approx. 45,000 households)
Owner: Roan Vind (Aneo Roan Vind Holding 60%, Nordic Wind Power 40%)
Aneo Vind Holding is owned 51% by Aneo and 49% by Stadtwerke München. Nordic Wind Power is owned by Energy Infrastructure Partners and Bern Kraftwerke).
Storheia wind farm:
Start-up in 2019
Annual production: 1000 GWh.
(equivalent to annual consumption for approx. 50,000 households)
Owner: Fosen Vind (Statkraft, 52.1%, Nordic Wind Power, 40%, Aneo, 7.9%)
Figures and facts
1.9 terawatt hours per year
The two wind farms supply 20 percent of all wind power production in Norway. The 151 wind turbines produce enough power to supply 100,000 households. Production at the two facilities is estimated at 1.9 terawatt hours (TWh) annually.
The development cost can be estimated at NOK 5.7 billion
The Storheia and Roan facilities have a combined capacity of 543.6 megawatts. The development cost can be estimated at NOK 5.7 billion, if one assumes investment costs of NOK 10.5 million per megawatt including grid connection, as Thema Consulting has done in previous estimates.
In 2012-2014, before the major wind power development started, the annual power deficit in central Norway price area (NO3) was around seven terawatt hours (TWh).