Why is Viking building this large wind farm in a small island?Open or Close
There are many positive reasons for building the wind farm and one of them is, quite simply, the wind. Shetland has a mean wind speed of over 16mph (over 7 metres per second) . That makes it among the best places in the world to locate wind turbines. This natural advantage means each of the turbines situated in central Shetland will produce a lot more electricity than their equivalents elsewhere in the country, in some cases around double the productivity. Shetland has a competitive advantage when it comes to wind: if you are better at something than most others you will gain more from the activity.
The project will bring jobs and a substantial injection of income to the islands.
The Viking Wind Farm will require an interconnector cable to the Scottish mainland so the electricity can be exported. Given that there will be spare capacity on the link, this opens up Shetland for the production of clean energy from more wind turbines and potentially from waves and the tide, bringing yet more jobs and income in the years to come.
Why should Shetland have these turbines to power homes in Glasgow?Open or Close
The power generated by Viking’s 103 turbines will be distributed throughout the electricity network, which will include Shetland for the first time as a result of the interconnector.
The islands have a long history of exporting products – fish, knitwear, oil – because it helps islanders make a living. That in turn sustains the population or helps the population to expand. The Viking Wind Farm and renewables in general will broaden the base of the Shetland economy at a time when the public sector, which is the biggest employer in the islands, is being squeezed by national and local government cuts.
The wind farm will kill lots of important birds, won't it?Open or Close
Very few birds are actually killed by wind farms compared to other causes of bird mortality, such as cats, collision with buildings and predation by other creatures. And Viking Energy has taken special steps to ensure the threat to breeding birds, including red-throated diver, whimbrel and merlin, in the wind farm area is minimised.
Areas of blanket bog will be restored and protected to the benefit of bird species. Turbines will be sited to avoid flight corridors.
Species such as whimbrel are in decline in Shetland. The 3.7 whimbrel which Scottish Natural Heritage predicts will be killed each year by the wind farm must be set against the 72-108 deaths that presently occur every year due to other causes.
Most people in Shetland oppose the wind farm, don't they?Open or Close
Opponents often make this argument on the basis of the 2,722 objections to the planning application compared to the 1,109 notifications of support. People who are opposed to developments are much more likely to object to them. The planning responses do not serve as any kind of poll on the project.
An opinion poll of 1,050 people in Shetland (pop. 22,000) conducted by The Shetland Times newspaper in December 2010 found that more people (36%) were in favour of the wind farm than against it (33%), with the remainder (31%) undecided.