Plans to land a 200 mile long power cable to export power from Shetland’s proposed windfarm have been condemned by a local fish grower as “a double whammy” to his business.
Yesterday (Thursday) it emerged that Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd (SHETL) plan to land the interconnector cable in scenic Weisdale Voe, on Shetland’s west side, after eliminating a shortlist of five other landing sites.
Under the plans, the cable will hook up to the 160 turbine windfarm being planned by community-owned Viking Energy and SHETL’s parent company Scottish & Southern Energy at a convertor station in the Kergord valley.
SHETL will be holding a “public roadshow” revealing their plans, with events at Whiteness and Weisdale Hall and the NAFC Marine Centre, Scalloway on 24 and 25 March.
The company intends to publish its consultation document with detailed plans on its website at www.scottish-southern.co.uk towards the end of next week once it has finalised the wording.
However sea trout hatchery owner Paul Featherstone said he was dismayed at the latest news about the cable landing next to his workplace, saying it would add to the threat of peat runoff into the burn he uses as a water supply.
“I am not keen on the Viking Energy proposal anyway because during the construction period there is no way I can see they can contain the run off from the 16 3.5 megawatt wind turbines going up in my catchment area,” Mr Featherstone said.
“Now I have got this double whammy of the landfall coming into Weisdale Voe and running the interconnector cable right past my hatchery. There will be considerable peat disturbance and the run off into Weisdale burn will kill my fish stone dead.”
SHETL have spent the past year surveying the entire Shetland coastline after being commissioned by National Grid to find a suitable landfall for the cable.
They reduced the options to six sites at Weisdale, Gonfirth, Laxo (three sites) and Skellister before opting for Weisdale as the favourite.
The cable will run from Shetland across the seabed east of Orkney to the Blackhillock substation on the Scottish north coast near Keith, via a landing point at Portgordon.
A company spokesman said they wanted to encourage as many people as possible to respond to the consultation. Feedback would “play an important role in helping to determine whether this is the best route”, he said.
Viking Energy project officer David Thomson welcomed the development as “a sign of steady progress” with their plans to build one of the biggest wind farms in Europe producing 600 megawatts of electricity.
Once the interconnector design has been established Viking Energy will know what their transmission charges are likely to be, a key component in their economic case.
Mr Thomson said he was pleased with the proposal to site a convertor station, a very large building, up the Kergord valley where it would be away from the coast and largely out of sight.
Meanwhile the peat probing work being carried out by environmental consultants for the windfarm developers was concluded last week, allowing the final lay out of the wind turbines to be decided next week.
Statutory bodies like Scottish Natural Heritage will be consulted first before the final plans are presented to the public in a second “Windylights” publication at the end of this month.
Then an environmental impact assessment will be prepared before a planning application is submitted this summer.
By Pete Bevington
7 March 2008
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