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Norway OKs 1st large offshore wind farm

Norway OKs 1st large offshore wind farm

Norway granted a permit Thursday to build the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm, a 78-turbine complex off the western coast that aims to produce enough electricity to power up to 49,000 homes.
Havsul I is being developed by a consortium of regional electricity companies called Vestavind Kraft ASA. Construction is expected to start in 2011 at the earliest, and no completion date has been set.
The windmills in the roughly 4 billion kroner ($690 million) Havsul I project are designed to have 395-foot (120-meter) rotors. Their bases will be planted on the sea bed 4 to 7 miles (6 to 11 kilometers) off western Norway's Sandoey Township, 185 miles (300 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Oslo.
"This is a milestone for the energy sector," Oil Minister Terje Riis-Johansen said as he announced the permit. He said the project's one-terrawatt output would help ease periodic energy shortages in the region and would help Norway develop new technology and expertise for wind turbines.
He said the project would also be subject to close environmental scrutiny, especially for any impact on fish or birds.
Norway is a major oil exporter, producing about 2 million barrels of oil a day plus natural gas. Most of its own electricity comes from hydroelectric plants, but it has been seeking to expand other renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar.
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