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Wind power continues to divide Shetland

A campaign group on Shetland has said there are still “hurdles” to overcome before a transmission link to the mainland becomes a reality.

Frank Hay, the chairman of Sustainable Shetland said the project may not happen at all.

The Viking Wind Farm is a joint venture between the Shetland community and the utility company SSE.

The project received planning consent from Scottish ministers in April 2012, but the decision was challenged through the courts by anti-wind farm campaigners.

Their efforts failed, and the consent was reaffirmed in February 2015.

The wind farm will consist of 103 wind turbines set around the central Mainland of Shetland.

Mr Hay said: “We will be responding to the consultation outlining again our concerns about the Viking project.”

“Whether or not developing a project like this so far away from consumer demand can represent value for money for consumers has yet, in our opinion, to be fully considered.

“The number of days with little wind in Shetland this winter does not encourage confidence in the success of a large scale wind farm like Viking here.

“That the Viking project has come this far is a travesty of justice when so many local people are opposed to it.”

Welcoming the news Viking Energy Shetland head of development Aaron Priest said: “We are delighted to see the transmission connection project taking this big step forward.

“Shetland is one of the last parts of the country not connected to the GB electricity grid. It is important to rectify this, not only as it will allow Shetland to fully harness renewable energy for the islands and elsewhere, but it will also secure a wealth of long-term socio-economic benefits for Shetland.

“Viking Energy looks forward to responding to Ofgem’s consultation and hopes for a speedy outcome before it submits its bid for a government-backed CfD contract later this year.”