The online consultation process for a massive wind farm proposal for Shetland started turning yesterday (Thursday) after Viking Energy switched on the interactive section of its website.
The company, which is half owned by Shetland Islands Council, wants to build a 600 MW wind farm on the Shetland mainland. Electricity will be fed via an underwater cable into the national grid with the view to help the UK fulfil its renewable energy obligation.
The website at www.vikingenergy.co.uk gives extensive information on the project and islanders are encouraged to sign up to contribute to the development process via a questionnaire, by submitting comments and questions, as well as by contacting the developer directly through the website.
Project officer David Thomson said: “We were aware that people wanted more information about the project but we were keen to wait until we had enough information to really inform the debate.
“Now that the project website has been launched we have a mechanism to begin to provide that information.
“The consultation sections that have been activated will allow us to get an accurate steer on what the public of Shetland see as the important issues regarding this project and what we need to focus on during the months to come.”
The project team hopes to be able to lodge a planning application with Scottish Ministers before the end of the year. It is anticipated that the planning process may take as long as three years.
Mr Thomson added that through the website Viking Energy would be able to track, analyse and report upon activity and feedback.
“Data from the website can then be used to identify and explore opinions, trends and specific concerns raised by the community,” he said.
The consultation questionnaire will remain active until just before any project planning application and the submitted comment and question facilities are expected to remain open indefinitely.
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