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As Wind Power Grows in Europe, So Does Resistance From Locals

Communities object to new and bigger turbines, threatening efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
A 229-foot-tall wind turbine outside the small, rural community of Torup, Denmark.

A 229-foot-tall wind turbine outside the small, rural community of Torup, Denmark.

Photographer: Rasmus Degnbol for Bloomberg Businessweek

Sweden—the country that brought the world 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg—is aiming to zero out greenhouse gases by 2045. To reach that goal, it’s ramping up wind energy. The country expects to install 1.8 gigawatts of capacity of wind power this year alone, enough to charge more than 16,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars.

At Ripfjallet, in the forests near Malung in western Sweden, German wind developer WPD AG has plans to build as many as 30 wind turbines that would reach heights of up to 250 meters (820 feet), according to Maria Roske, managing director of WPD’s Scandinavian arm. But a group of area residents is working to block it. “The project risks destroying the area where our ancestors used to hunt and pick berries. We want to be able to pass it on to future generations,” says Hans Ojes, one of the group’s organizers.