Sámi Reindeer Herders to Get Millions over Norway Wind Farm


Dispute over the Fosen wind farm continues despite partial deal

Photo: HEIKO JUNGE/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

Sámi reindeer herders have reached a partial agreement with Norway over the fate of the country's largest wind farm, the Fosen wind farm located in central Norway, which the Supreme Court says infringed on indigenous rights. However, the controversy is not over.

In October 2021, Norway's Supreme Court ruled that the Fosen wind farm violated Sámi rights under international conventions, prompting huge protests earlier this year over the protracted process to implement the ruling. Sámi youth eventually met with King Harald V of Norway in a final effort to secure support.

The agreement reached only covers reindeer herders to the south of the Fosen wind farm, but there are two communities, known as siidas, that have been impacted by the project.

For siidas to the south of Fosen, Statskraft, the state-owned company behind the project, will pay 7 million Norwegian crowns ($687,722) each year, for 25 years — the expected lifespan of the wind turbines.

Besides, after this period the south Fosen siida will be able to decide on the project’s future, preventing Statkraft from applying for license extensions or renewals at the site without Sámi consent. Also, the Norwegian government will help reindeer herders to use additional winter grazing areas near the Fosen reindeer-herding district with the aim of securing those lands by the winter of 2026.

However, no agreement has been made with the impacted siida north of Fosen. They continue to demand the demolition of more than 40 wind turbines that are owned by a different company, Aneo — a Norwegian renewables group.

I do not want to criticize the south Fosen siida, though I do imagine that the government now sees this as a possibility to invade first and solve it later with payment, said a reindeer herder from the impacted siida. We in the north Fosen district are standing firmly in our decision.

Therefore, the dispute over the Fosen wind farm continues despite the partial deal.

We hope that we can find an amicable agreement also for north Fosen, as it was possible for south Fosen, a spokesperson for Roan Vind said.

Roan Vind is owned by Aneo, Germany's Stadtwerke Muenchen and Nordic Wind Power.

Source: Grist Magazine