Sweden’s Land and Environmental Court of Appeal rejected on Tuesday a proposed wind farm off the coast of Gävle in eastern Sweden after it was determined the project could threaten the habitat of a species of ducks, Swedish Radio News reports.
When announced in 2009, the proposed Finngrund wind farm was due to be Scandinavia’s largest, featuring 300 turbines churning out power to some two million people. Construction was scheduled to start in 2014 some 40 kilometers offshore in the Balitc Sea.
But the wind farm suffered legal setbacks and Göran Dalén, CEO of wpd Offshore, the company behind the development, said he was dismayed by the court’s final ruling.
“We’re surprised,” he told Swedish Radio’s P4 channel in Gävleborg. “We think it’s sad and it’s the wrong decision.”
The court denied the wind farm based on its projected environmental impact, namely how it would affect the already vulnerable population of long-tailed ducks. The migratory birds spend their winters along the Baltic and the location of the wind farm, along the Finngrund banks, was found to threaten the ducks’ habitat.
Professor Kjell Larsson studies the long-tailed ducks and said their numbers have been declining. Estimates put the duck’s population in Sweden at less than 4,000.
According to Larsson, the turbines could frighten the ducks away from the habitat, so much so that they won’t return. And, for a species that’s already vulnerable, the consequences could be serious.
Göran Dalén stressed his company took pains to ensure the turbines would not harm the ducks or their habitat.
“We have used the best expertise to be found in Sweden,” he said, “and established that the duck population will not be affected by this wind farm.”
Dalén added that wpd may suspend work on another proposed wind project that’s slated for the same area.
“Naturally we’ll see if there’s any possibility to continue,” he said, “but, if not, we’ll discontinue the project.”