Industrial site willing to pay voluntary ‘nature fee’

Bøylestad Energy Park could become the first Norwegian industrial development project to pay a voluntary ‘nature fee’ for the restoration of a land area corresponding to the area potentially affected by the project.

B Øylestad

“A nature fee is paid by developers for breaking new ground, and it is used to restore the same amount of nature in another area. This allows for more balanced industrial developments at a time when nature has become a scarcity,” says Per Olav Collin, Project Manager at Arendals Fossekompani.

At a meeting during Arendalsuka in August, it was announced that Bøylestad Energy Park has initiated a pilot to explore how the nature fee should be designed. The pilot aims to identify which criteria to use to determine the monetary size of the nature fee.

Located in Froland, Bøylestad Energy Park is an initiative from two landowners at Bøylestad, close to Arendals Fossekompani’s Bøylefoss hydropower plant. Even closer is a major hub for the Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett.

“Bøylefoss is ideal for power intensive industries. The Norwegian government is calling for such industries to be located in the vicinity of power hubs, which make them more energy efficient and with less impact on nature,” says Collin.

The introduction of a nature fee for Bøylestad Energy Park is in line with The Nature Restoration Law, recently introduced by the European Commission, which – if passed – would require European Union member states to revive forests, wetlands, and other sea- and landscapes marred by human development.

“We are pleased to see nature take its rightful place next to climate. We need to develop more sustainable solutions and industries to combat climate change, while preserving the nature. A nature fee is a step in the right direction, and we are willing to go in front, certain that more will follow,” says Collin.

Read more about Bøylestad Energy Park here: