Thursday, 5 April 2012

Shetland Islands to host 'world's most productive' windfarm

Windfarm given go ahead despite local opposition, and should produce enough energy to power 175,000 homes.

A major windfarm on Shetland, which could be the most productive in the world, has been approved by ministers despite a bitterly fought campaign against the scheme by local residents.
The Viking windfarm will straddle the hills and moors of Shetland's main island, where the onshore wind speeds are frequently the highest in Europe, and lead to earnings of £30m a year for islanders and Shetland's wealthy charitable trust.
The project has been cut in size by Fergus Ewing, the Scottish energy minister, from 127 turbines to 103, to protect safety for Scatsta airport near Sullom Voe oil terminal.
The joint venture between energy giant SSE and Viking Energy Ltd, owned by the trust, will have 370MW capacity and is expected to generate enough energy for 175,000 homes – sixteen times the number of homes on Shetland.
One small turbine on a hill north of Lerwick, called Betsy, already holds a world record for its efficiency, reaching 59% of its potential output, thanks to the consistently powerful winds which sweep Shetland.
The developers said that meant the Viking scheme had the potential to be the most productive in the world. Councillor Bill Manson, chairman of Viking Energy Partnership, said: "This is good news for Shetland, good news for Scotland and good news for the fight against climate change."
The Viking scheme has been vigorously opposed by many Shetland residents, who have complained about its dominant position through the centre of the main island, and its impact on the scenery and recreation value of the moors and hills.

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