In 1998, Norsk Vind Energi received a request from the county governor in Finnmark, concerning the possibility of installing two wind measuring devices at different locations on the Kola peninsula in Russia. Through this work we became aware of the immense work that Naturvernforbundet was doing in Kola, also within the energy sector. Naturvernforbundet had, through cooperation with the Kola Science Centre, documented the rich wind energy potential in Kola.
Norsk Vind Energi, together with Naturvernforbundet, Gaia (a local environmental group), a few local Russian partners, and numerous private individuals, founded the company VetroEnergo AS in 1999. This company had the goal of establishing, and operating, wind farm projects in Russia. In 2001, a number of wind turbines were erected in Murmansk, based upon projects developed by Norsk Vind Energi. The construction work was enabled through cooperation between Norsk Vind Energi, Norwegian and Russian authorities, as well as Naturvernforbundet and the Russian environmental group Gaia.
The turbines were erected to give invaluable information concerning technical details, as well as legal and regulatory barriers, before decisions were made to develop wind farms on a larger scale. On the Kola peninsula we discovered some of the best wind power potential in all of Europe. Keeping in mind the enormous areas available for development, as well as the pre-existing road and electrical infrastructure, Kola is an incredible prospect for wind farm investments. Studies undertaken by the Kola Science Centre showed that a single area to the north-east of Murmansk had the potential for generating 800MW.
However, Norsk Vind Energi’s experiences since 2001 has demonstrated that the current political and regulatory climate in Russia creates severe risks for foreign investment. This makes it impossible to develop realistic wind farm projects in Kola, despite its potential.
As a result, Norsk Vind Energi has abandoned all interests in Kola since autumn of 2015.