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Fewer turbines promised in new design  

A reduced layout for Shetland’s proposed community windfarm should be revealed within a few weeks showing 24 fewer turbines.

The changes are in response to concerns voiced at a series of public consultation meetings over the past month at which the scale of the turbine forest and some of the suggested sites have been the major issue.

Viking Energy was due to complete its round of public sessions last night with a special meeting in Aith to address concerns about how the giant project might be funded and built.

Project manager Aaron Priest said on Wednesday the team hoped to have ready a fresh proposal for the layout around the end of this month or early May showing where 168 turbines would go, rather than the 192 originally featured in its Windylights prospectus.

The windfarm would still be rated at its target output of 600 megawatts.

Mr Priest said: “We’ll be using the information from the public to inform which sites we include in the 24 that will be cut.”

Before then talks will take place with agencies such as government-controlled Scottish Natural Heritage and the bird lobby group the RSPB to determine how the turbine sites can be shifted about without interfering with bird flight paths and sensitive areas of the landscape.

Mr Priest said: “We need to check out all that before we announce what the final layout would be.”

Work is already under way in processing the mass of other information and opinions voiced at the consultation meetings. Viking Energy hopes to release a list of key findings and how they will be addressed. That publication should appear in the next few weeks too, around the same time as the new-look turbine layout.

Mr Priest said: “We just have to sit down and take stock of what the common themes have been and address the main concerns.”

He said the series of meetings had been “a mixed bag” with large turnouts of 70-80 people for the earlier sessions in Vidlin and Aith, tailing away to 20-30 at other meetings and just one at a Mossbank session.

It is still hoped to lodge a planning application with the SIC at the end of the summer with a view to what he called “the big decisions” about whether to proceed being taken in the financial year 2009/10.

The first two years of construction would be largely for the roads followed by three to four years to erect the turbines and other parts of the network.

By John Robertson

shetlandtoday.co.uk

20 April 2007

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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