Large-scale Wind Farm in Sami reindeer land, Sweden

More than 1,000 turbines (4,000 MW) are being constructed in Sami herding lands. The UN and ONGs press the Swedish government and private financial institutions to respect Sami land and human rights.

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"> In May 2008 the Swedish Company Svevind applied for a permit to build and operate the Markbygden Wind Farm. The project consist of more than 1,000 wind turbines, and an extensive road infrastructure to be deployed in the Arctic region of Piteå. This major industrial project is expected to achieve an installed capacity over 4,000 MW with total production of around 8-12 TWh per year, capable to supply electricity for about 400,000 households in Sweden. According to Svevind, the project is located in a region with “very good wind conditions” and “relatively small degree of conflicting interests” since the area is “sparsely populated”. However, the project covers a total of 450 Km2 of Sami reindeer herding areas. The Sami people are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. The Sami are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding and currently about 10% of the Sami are connected to this activity, providing them with meat, fur, and transportation. 2,800 Sami people are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, cultural, and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries. Sami herders in Pitea say that the deployment of the Markbygden Wind Farm through the reindeer herding lands will limit their movements and endanger their animals. If the Sami lose the reindeer, they loose their language, culture, traditions, and ability to move in nature. Ingrid Inger, president of the Sámi Parliament, explains that reindeer herders need to move their herds between seasonal grazing lands – often across long distances - during the year. But increasing demands on the land from other economic interests is making that more and more difficult, and is leading to the closure of traditional Sámi businesses. According to Patrick Lantto, an historian at the Centre for Sámi Research in Umeå, the Sami are protected by a law which gives them the right to grazing lands across vast stretched of the north of Sweden.  However, he says that this does not add up too much in practice as it is almost impossible for herders to prove they have been using the land, which is 95% owned by two forestry companies. In Lantto’s perspective, despite some recent court rulings in Samis favour, “there’s a strong sentiment that reindeer husbandry could prevent development in the north”. In fact, the Swedish government decided to accept the admissibility of the project in March 2010 placing wind power as a high priority for the national interest. After the government’s decision, the Saami Council (the NGO that represents the Sami people in all four countries in which they live) published a press release criticising the German bank KfW IPEX for their funding of this giant project in Sami herding areas, in contravention of the OECD Convention on Multilateral Enterprises. The Sweden government has also received strong international criticism by the UN Racial Discrimination Committee and the Human Rights Committee. The UN Committee released its Concluding Observations on Sweden in which it calls on Sweden to take several concrete actions, to end the human rights violations against Sami people. Sweden failed to ratify the 169 ILO Convention. Simultaneously, in Norway, some Lappish politicians (for example - Aili Keskitalo) suggest giving the Sami Parliament a special veto right on planned mining projects. The wind power company has argued they have consulted the Sámi and that they are willing to pay appropriate compensation. However, Samis state they were never properly consulted before the building got underway. Ingrid Inger, president of the Sámi Parliament, says this is just the latest chapter in a longstanding struggle between Sámi reindeer herders and industrial interests. “We’re not against wind power - but we are against big wind farms like Markbydgen because they affect the reindeer business – the local Sámi herders will lose about a quarter of their winter grazing land. That’s really reprehensible from our point of view,” she said. According to the company’s information, by April 2016 the pilot, first and second phases of the project have already been approved and under construction. The third and last phase of Markbygden is still being investigated. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Large-scale Wind Farm in Sami reindeer land, Sweden</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/sweden">Sweden</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Norrbotten, Piteå</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Kikkejaure village </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Windmills<br /> Land acquisition conflicts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</a><br /><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Number of wind turbines: 1101 wind turbines. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Estimated capacity: 4,000 MW<br/><br/>Total estimated production: 8-12 TWh. <br/><br/>PILOT PHASE<br/><br/>Turbines: 20<br/><br/>Rated power: 42 MW<br/><br/>Estimated annual production: 170.0 GWh<br/><br/>PHASE 1<br/><br/>The first phase got its permit in autumn of 2012 and construction has started.<br/><br/>Turbines:314<br/><br/>Rated power: 935 MW<br/><br/>Estimated annual production: 3.0 TWh<br/><br/>PHASE 2<br/><br/>The second phase was approved in 2015 and then sold to Enercon.<br/><br/>Turbines: 440<br/><br/>Rated Power: 1300 MW<br/><br/>Estimated annual production: 3.5 TWh<br/><br/>PHASE 3<br/><br/>The third and last phase is still being investigated.<br/><br/>Turbines: 442<br/><br/>Rated power:1800 MW<br/><br/>Estimated annual production: 3.0 TWh<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>45,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>7,000,000,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>01/03/2010</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/svevind'>Svevind</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/sweden'><small>Sweden</small></a> - <small>Developer</small><br /><a href='/company/enercon'>Enercon</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/germany'><small>Germany</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Swedish ministry of enterprise and energy</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/kfw-bankengruppe'>KfW Bankengruppe <small>(KfW )</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-institution/germany'><small>Germany</small></a> - <small>Investor</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Sami council<br/><br/></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>LOW (some local organising)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> International ejos<br /> Pastoralists<br /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Development of a network/collective action<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Shareholder/financial activism.<br /> Lack of proper consultation</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Violations of human rights<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Under construction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Under negotiation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The construction of the project is ongoing while consultation processes remain unsatisfying for Sami people.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Anett Sasvari (2016), Green grabbing – modes of appropriation and knowledge production in the conflict between Sami herders and the wind power industry, Paper Presented at the ENTITLE Conference, Undisciplined Environments, Stockholm, March 2016.<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Samis web page<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Markbygden Project Webpage<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Sami Council Web Page<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> The International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, Sami Council Criticize German Bank Funding of Wind Power on Reindeer Pastures, April 19, 2010, Consulted April 15 2016<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Tom Sullivan, Radio Sweden – News in English, Sámi opposition to giant wind farms, Published torsdag 25 november 2010 kl 08.35,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> The Last Generation? – Sami Reindeer Herders in Swedish Lapland, Documentary, Filmed 2012 – 2013,,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Sami reindeer herder - National Geographic, Photograph by Erika Larsen</strong><br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Reindeer in the road near the wind farm. Photo: Tom Sullivan / SR International</strong><br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Sofia Avila-Calero</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>20/04/2016</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>