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Wind farm for Cunningsburgh?  

The team behind Shetland’s successful wind farm on Burradale Hill is planning to build a second one near Cunningsburgh, in the south of the Shetland mainland.

The project could involve of up to ten 900 KW turbines to be erected on the plateau of the Sheens of Breitoe, at a height of around 200 metres, between Quarff and Fladdabister.

Project manager Michael Thomson said yesterday (Monday) that the site was even more suitable than Burradale Hill, but added that the project was at a very early stage.

Its progress depends on a study which will determine whether the islands’ existing electricity grid has the capacity for another renewables installation.

The news comes just days after the local council and power company Scottish & Southern Energy signed a partnership deal to build a massive 600MW wind farm in Shetland’s central mainland.

This massive project is expected to lead to the construction of a subsea cable linking Shetland to the national grid early next decade.

Mr Thomson said the project team was currently talking to the council’s planning department to find out what level of environmental study must be completed before a planning application could be submitted by the end of the year.

Construction work could start as early as 2008, but 2009 would be more realistic, he said. Presently, there is a two year waiting time for new wind turbines.

“Scottish and Southern Energy, Strathclyde University and ourselves are doing a study to see how much more renewables it (the grid) could cope with,” Mr Thomson said.

“This project might fail for several reasons. The planning application obviously is a hurdle, but the study might also say we could only put 4MW additional renewable energy into the grid rather than the 9MW we are looking at.

“The bigger the better, but we can only put on what the grid can cope with.”

The project is being developed by MD Developments (Shetland) Ltd, a sister company of Shetland Aerogenerators, which owns the 3.7MW Burradale wind farm. Mr Thomson said the same people were behind the new plans.

Burradale is the most efficient wind farm in the world with a load factor of well over 50 per cent, dwarfing the output of similar sized ventures elsewhere.

Mr Thomson added that the company was also drawing up plans to store excess energy during summer months when the demand on the Shetland grid was far less.

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that a similar project on the island of Yell has been knocked back by around five years.

The North Yell Development Council wants to build five 850KW turbines at Cullivoe, but were told by SSE that no new grid connection would be available until the subsea cable was built.

NYDC secretary Andrew Nisbet said the group was nevertheless confident that their project would come to fruition.

“We are going to continue with the environmental impact assessment and hope to be able to complete that by September 2007, which will enable us to submit a planning application.

“Should we gain planning permission we will just sit on the project until the cable is laid,” he said.

By Hans J Marter

shetland-news.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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