This summer saw the publication of SOU 2021:53 – A Legally Secure Wind Power Test. The report contains several proposals for changes aimed at increasing legal certainty, predictability and efficiency in the testing of wind power plants.
The municipalities' role in the establishment of wind power is thoroughly discussed and the investigation highlights issues with the current system of municipal strength, which they believe created uncertainty for designers and had a negative impact on wind power expansion in Sweden. In order to remedy the problems, it is proposed that a special law on location information for wind power subject to authorisation be introduced. According to the proposal, location information must be submitted by the municipality within five months of the request and be a prerequisite for project testing. The basis for the municipality's decision shall be limited to location based on land and water use, while, for example, natural environment and species protection issues must be examined by the licensing authority. The decision must be justified and positive information is proposed to be valid for five years.
In addition to the changes regarding the municipality's role, the report also proposes that the Swedish rules regarding obstacle lighting be adapted to international guidelines. According to these, a medium-intensity red light is considered acceptable up to 315 metres, compared to the current Swedish limit of 150 metres. Over this height limit, the lighting becomes a high-intensity white light, which is considered more disturbing to the surroundings. According to the report, an increased limit should therefore be positive for wind power opinions.
A Welcome Development
All in all, the inquiry submits proposals that, if they become a reality, would likely have positive effects on wind power expansion in Sweden. According to the proposal, municipalities should still have the opportunity to stop establishments, but their role is clarified and the process is streamlined. It would no longer be possible for the municipality to leave a request untreated, to submit negative information without justification or to change its mind during the process. The fact that binding information is given early means that projects that would not have been possible can be completed instead of costly processes being run unnecessarily for a long time – a welcome development for the future of Swedish wind power.
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