Viking is bringing significant direct benefits to Shetland communities

At a time of great economic challenge and uncertainty, the construction of the Viking wind farm has brought with it many significant benefits to the Shetland Islands and its communities and it will continue to do so throughout the life of the wind farm.

Benefits have already included:

  • direct employment
  • contracts placed with the local supply chain
  • the launch of the c.£72m (index linked) Community Benefit Fund
  • improvements to local biodiversity
  • local event and other sponsorships

You can find out more about some of the many benefits below.

Investing in communities

We are committed to providing a lasting legacy for Shetland’s communities. We have established a community benefit fund of around £72m over the lifetime of the wind farm. The fund has already provided over 420 awards to local projects during the construction of the wind farm.

Shetland Community Benefit Fund oversee the administration of the fund to ensure that all funding decisions are made by local people for the benefit of Shetland. The priorities of the fund from 2024-2029 have been identified through a Shetland wide community consultation and have informed the six priorities outlined in the fund’s ‘A Legacy for Shetland’ business plan.

You can find out more about the Viking Community Benefit Fund, the priorities outlined in the Legacy for Shetland business plan and how to apply for funding by clicking below:

Viking Community Benefit Fund

Restoring peat

Much of the Viking wind farm is located on heavily eroding and degraded peat which is therefore a net emitter of stored carbon. Viking’s Habitat Management Plan (HMP) has been approved by SEPA, SNH and Shetland Islands Council.

An independent expert advisory group, Shetland Windfarm Environmental Advisory Group (SWEAG), will oversee a comprehensive programme of conservation measures including extensive peat restoration over 260 hectares of significantly damaged and eroded habitat.

Employing people

Shetland communities are also directly benefitting from the development of Viking. During peak construction activity there were over 400 jobs supported with multiple supply and sub-contract opportunities for local businesses and direct local recruitment from Scottish firm RJ McLeod who were appointed principal contractor in July 2020. By the middle of 2023, more than £70m had been spent with more than 70 local contractors.

We will be employing a skilled workforce during Viking's operational lifetime and we are committed to the training of local people and apprentices and supporting local schools and colleges to encourage STEM careers.

In August 2020 it was announced Vestas would manufacture, deliver and install 103 turbines providing an installed generation capacity of 443MW. As part of the deal Vestas will service the wind farm when operational, with the ambition to establish a Shetland-based service organisation providing high quality employment opportunities supported by an apprentice programme.

Unlocking potential

Viking underpins the Shetland HVDC link and will help unlock Shetland’s wider renewable energy potential, delivering Shetland’s future security of electricity supply and helping to decarbonise Shetland’s oil and gas sector.

In July 2020 Ofgem approved the Final Needs Case for the 600MW HVDC transmission link connecting Shetland to the GB mainland.

Improving access

A new public road at Sandwater has been built which will benefit the travelling public in Shetland for decades to come and improve east-west linkage of the public road network. Viking will also cooperate with the aims and objectives of the Shetland Outdoor Access Forum to improve the public’s access and enjoyment of the wind farm site.