Significant milestone for what will be the UK's most productive onshore wind farm.

The first power has been produced at the Viking Wind Farm, which once fully operational will be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm.

The landmark moment comes after the final turbine was installed at the 443MW Viking Wind Farm in Shetland. The milestone also comes as Shetland gears up to be fully connected to the GB electricity transmission grid for the first time, with the 260km Shetland High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) subsea cable project being delivered separately by SSEN Transmission closing in on full energisation, which is expected later this summer.

The world-leading onshore wind development has started producing electricity as part of final commissioning.

Engineers will continue to progress through commissioning ahead of the wind farm reaching full power and entering commercial operations later in summer 2024, when it is expected to become the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm^. Once operational Viking Wind Farm will be capable of generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of almost half a million typical British homes annually*.

Construction of the wind farm began in the autumn of 2020 with the last of over 100 turbines being installed at the site in August 2023.

Heather Donald, SSE Renewables’ Onshore Renewables Development and Construction Director, said: “This latest milestone is another step towards cleaner, more secure, homegrown power for Shetland, Scotland and the UK.

“Once again our expert teams have shown what can be achieved in the development, construction and operation of world-class renewable power assets as we look to lead the transition to a net zero future.”

John Scott, SSEN Transmission’s Programme Director, said: “The first flow of power from Shetland to the mainland on the Shetland HVDC link is a key moment for the Shetland community. Full energisation, linking Shetland to the GB transmission system for the first time will be crucial in delivering Shetland’s energy security as well as enabling extensive renewable generation development and export.

“A tremendous collective effort from our teams so far, we can now look forward to working through the remaining commissioning phases of the project before it is fully energised later this summer."

When fully operational, Viking’s 103 Vestas turbines will operate in 4.3MW power mode and total 443MW of installed wind-powered capacity, capable of generating around1.8TWh of renewable electricity annually. This means Viking Wind Farm will be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output when complete.

Alongside progress with the Shetland HVDC Link project, work is continuing to connect Shetland’s existing electricity distribution network to the transmission network, connecting Shetland’s homes and businesses to the GB grid for the first time via the new Grid Supply Point being constructed at Gremista. The Kergord-Gremista 132kV overhead lines and underground cable circuits currently being installed, which are scheduled for completion in 2025, will then connect the HVDC link to the new Gremista Grid Supply Point.

Viking Wind Farm and the Shetland HVDC project both remain on track for completion later this summer.

^ Most productive UK onshore wind farm claim based on projected total average generation output by Viking Wind Farm of ~1.8TWh per annum and a comparison with the leading UK operational and in construction wind farms.

* 475,099 homes powered per annum based on annual GB average domestic household consumption base of 3.781MWh published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as of November 2018, and projected total generation output by Viking Wind Farm of 1,796.35 GWh per annum.