Farmers’ union leader wants many farm windmills on Jæren – NRK Rogaland – Local news, TV and radio

High electricity prices, and the prospect that the electricity subsidy will disappear in the summer, make many farmers look for solutions to become almost self-sufficient in electricity.

On windy Jæren, windmills are a much better alternative than solar panels.

– Interest in farm windmills is increasing. Electricity prices are rising, and we have been notified that the electricity subsidy will only last until July. We must therefore start gearing up for autumn, says leader of the Varhaug farming association, Håkon Varhaug.

The leader of the Varhaug farming association in Hå municipality believes that many farms on Jæren will get their own wind turbines in a few years.

Photo: Gunnar Morsund / NRK

Queue conflicts

But a large-scale placement of farm wind turbines will create conflicts.

The ram is special. Here is one of the country’s largest food platters with widespread agriculture. But Jæren also has international conservation values. Both bird life and a unique landscape.

– If every farm were to have a windmill, the total load on the area would be very high.

That’s according to assistant county environmental protection manager Cathrine Stabel Eltervåg at the State Administrator in Rogaland. She sees that the pile of applications from farmers who want their own windmill is growing. And it’s growing fast.

– This is new for us, it is new for the municipalities. This means that we have no clear guidelines. That’s why we are now trying to give advice to the municipalities by looking at this overall in order to be prepared for all the cases that will come, says Stabel Eltervåg.

Farm windmill, Skurve in Gjesdal

This farm windmill has been delivered by the company Scanwatt to the company Sivertsen A/S at Skurve in Gjesdal. It rises a total of 26 meters above the ground, including the rotor.

Photo: Gunnar Morsund / NRK

Hundreds of windmills

The leader of the farmers’ association in the country’s largest agricultural municipality Hå, is himself in the thinking box as to whether he should invest in a farm windmill. Håkon Varhaug has already thought out the location, but has not yet decided which windmill he wants to set up.

Five farmers in Hå have already made up their minds, and have applied to the municipality to set up a windmill. Varhaug believes that in time there will be many, yes very many farm windmills in Hå.

– I would guess that there will be around 150 farm windmills in Hå in ten years. There is always wind on Jæren. We have an average wind of 9 m/s, so a windmill will produce electricity all year round, says Varhaug.

Knut Henriksen, general manager Scanwatt

Managing director Knut Henriksen at Scanwatt is experiencing great interest among farmers who want a farm windmill.

Foto: Scanwatt

The company Scanwatt is one of the largest suppliers of farm windmills. The company now has ten applications from farmers in Rogaland who want a windmill on their farm. The influx from farmers who are interested is also increasing from farmers in Western Norway, North-Western Norway and in Trøndelag, says general manager Knut Henriksen.

– There are many people who are interested, but I now only count those who apply themselves or ask me to apply. There are so many people who approach us that I concentrate on those who want to apply, says Henriksen.

No areas

In 2022, the state administrator had seven dispensation cases regarding farm wind turbines for consideration. These are cases that conflict with land purpose or other regulations, which may be conservation interests. They expect the number to rise, and now see that they must start limiting the spread of farm windmills to protect bird life and the unique landscape.

– There are certain areas where we see that farm windmills should not be placed. This applies particularly along the coast where there is the highest concentration of ducks and waders. This will mainly concern Sola, Klepp and the northern part of Hå, says Stabel Eltervåg.

Cathrine Stabel Eltervåg, assistant county environmental protection manager, State Administrator in Rogaland

Assistant county environmental protection manager Cathrine Stabel Eltervåg at the State Administrator in Rogaland believes that certain areas on Jæren are not suitable for farm windmills.

Photo: Gunnar Morsund / NRK

Leader of the Varhaug farmer’s association, Håkon Varhaug, is excited about the outcome of several cases that are now to be decided. He is concerned that farmers experience equal treatment, and that decisions are made on the basis of thorough reasons that are perceived as fair.

– Hopefully, in collaboration with the municipality and the State Administrator, we will find good solutions that are practical for everyone. It goes without saying that in some places windmills cannot be set up, but in other places we can set up more, says Varhaug.

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