Unemployment has gone with the wind

Two years ago, Egersund had the highest unemployment rate in the country. The historical development of renewable energy around Egersund, the country’s wind power capital, has been a big contributor to turning this trend around.

From Vardberg, an observation point towering above the town of Okka, it is literally possible to see why. And, for the local business community, the Egersund wind farm (112 MW) has been welcomed.

– Veidekke, the main contractor, chose Bertelsen og Garpestad, a local construction company, as subcontractor. As a direct consequence of the development, the company could cancel some planned layoffs, says Per Ove Skorpen, the General Manager of Norsk Vind, which has developed and realised the project.

– Bertelsen og Garpestad has acquired solid experience and will now look to participate in new wind power projects as main contractor, says Øyvind Langemyr, the General Manager.

FACEBOOK AGREEMENT RESULTED IN EVEN MORE JOBS

From Vardberg, the Tellenes wind power plant (160 MW) is also visible. The latter was constructed around the Titania strip mine, developed by Norsk Vind and Zephyr, and will deliver power corresponding to the Alta power plant to Google for the next 12 years.

And soon, these two will be joined by the Bjerkreim wind power plant (294 MW).

Norsk Vind and Luxcara, a German company investing in renewable energy, who are the owners of the wind farm, are well under way with its construction. In mid-May they signed a 15 year power purchasing agreement with Facebook, which will buy all the power produced by the plant.

– For Stangeland Maskin, the main contractor, the development of the Bjerkreim wind farm will provide employment for around 85 people and 45 construction machines, including our subcontractors. Stangeland has gathered extensive knowledge and experience of wind power projects. It has been very fulfilling that these skills may now be used on yet another major wind power project, says Tore Voster, the Stangeland Maskin Marketing Manager.

EUROPE’S CHEAPEST NEW POWER

What the projects have in common is the unique wind resource that, combined with cutting edge technology, will contribute to making it Europe’s cheapest new energy, to the delight of both consumers, business, onshore industry and the climate.

– No other form of power is able to compete with Norwegian wind at the moment. The wind power we, and others, are developing today constitutes by far the lowest cost in Europe, far lower than that of new gas power. In my eyes it is a magnificent opportunity for Norway as an industrial nation: We are able to utilise our excellent resources, both to phase out fossil energy consumption and to increase industrial production in a climate friendly manner. The wind power being built in Rogaland will produce as much power as the Kårstø gas power plant, which is now being closed down. Replacing the gas power at Kårstø with wind power spares the climate 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, Mr. Skorpen concludes.

The article is reproduced from Norwea

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