Viking Energy Submits Application for 540-MW Wind Farm

Viking Energy, a joint venture between the Shetland community and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), has submitted its application for a 150-turbine, 540-megawatt (MW) wind farm on Shetland to the Scottish Government. The Shetland community is represented by Viking Energy Limited, which is 90% owed by the Shetland Charitable Trust, the organization set up to manage funds on behalf of the community.

It is expected that more than £37 million [US $57.9 million] per year could be generated for local economy over the project’s lifetime. This sum includes returns to Shetland Charitable Trust, which are now expected to be more than £23 million [$36 million] each year, as well as wages and rents to local landlords and crofters. Viking Energy will invest close to £1 million [$1.5 million] per year in wider, direct, community benefit payments. Community engagement on the nature of those payments will begin shortly.

The proposed wind farm is located in a wide area of the central mainland of Shetland, and will have an eventual footprint of 252 hectares. The turbine heights are likely to be 90 meters with a maximum blade tip height of 145 meters. Based on the data collected from Shetland’s first wind farm, at Burradale, the development could be up to twice as productive as the average UK wind farm.

A period of public consultation by the planning authorities will follow the submission, which will then be considered by the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit. The Scottish Energy Minister will ultimately make a decision on the application. But even if approval is granted a number of other factors will influence the eventual sanction of this development.

The wind farm will not go ahead without an electrical connection to the Scottish mainland. SHETL, Scottish and Southern Energy’s transmission network operating division, will submit proposals for a 600-MW sub-sea connector between Shetland and Portgordon over the coming months.

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