Stoltenberg blocks new hydropower plants

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, whose relations with the environmentalists have been strained, gave them a New Year’s gift by agreeing to shelve three proposals for large hydropower plants. The controversial plans had called for new hydro-electric plants on the Beiarn, Bjøllåga and Melfjord waterways in Nordland County. "The time for major new hydro-electric plants in Norway has passed," Mr. Stoltenberg said during the prime minister’s traditional New Year’s address to the nation. While environmental activists have opposed further exploitation of Norway’s river and streams, they have also opposed Mr. Stoltenberg’s alternative solution for meeting future power needs – natural gas-powered plants.