Local authorities across Sweden take uncoordinated approaches to handling applications for wind farms and are often unsure of their legal responsibilities, a cross-ministerial group has concluded in an interim report. Commissioned by the government to advise on the problems facing windpower, the group is not due to present its final report until next June. Yesterday, it published a report outlining the problems identified so far. Complaints about the visual, wildlife and noise impacts of wind turbines head the list. Local authorities are also reported to be confused about how to balance the need to protect natural heritage against that to promote renewable energies. A key problem, according to the group's secretary Henrik Lindström, is that there is no clear official guidance on how to make such decisions. He said it was likely that the group would call on the government to adopt a national goal for windpower capacity in order to facilitate strategic planning by windpower firms and local authorities. It has been asked to draw up planning guidelines for local authorities, and to advise on a system for financing the national distribution of electricity from wind turbines. To date, around 400 wind turbines over 100KW capacity have been built. The forecast is for another 600 or so within the next few years.
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