Norway decides in favor of wild reindeer over energy

Reindeer pavillion
CC BY 2.0 Enra

The government rejected plans for a wind farm in Bygland over concerns it could threaten the wild reindeer who call the area home.

Wind energy is great. But so are wild reindeer – and the Norwegian government thinks the same, evidenced when it recently rejected construction of a wind farm over concerns that it could harm the animals in an area that is home to the last remaining viable populations in Europe, reports Reuters.

The scrapped plans were for a 120 megawatt(MW) project in Bygland municipality that was conceived of to spark business in the sparsely-inhabited region, but it would have been within a designated reindeer national reserve, said the Nordic country's energy ministry.

Reuters notes that Norway has nearly 35,000 reindeer in its southern mountains, "the last redoubt of sustainable populations of the animals in Europe." As development encroaches upon reindeer habitat, however, the iconic animals are suffering ... hundreds of reindeer are killed by freight trains alone.

Norway generates more power than it uses (around 99 percent of domestic energy needs are met by its hydropower dams), so much so that they export surplus energy to their neighbors. Which may make the decision to protect reindeer an easier one. But what an inspiration: Create the infrastructure to generate enough renewable energy to ensure that future projects can be contemplated with all creatures great and small in mind. If there is a population of wild reindeer in the way, how remarkable to be able to vote in favor of the animals ... just as it should be.

Via Reuters

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