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Green light for key wind power access route

April 16th 2019

A key access road for Shetland’s renewable energy industry has been granted planning approval by Shetland Islands Council.

At just over two kilometres long, the Kergord track will provide access for Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHET) to build a 600 megawatt electricity convertor station at Upper Kergord and allow Viking Energy to access wind turbine sites in the hills above.

The convertor station will turn alternating current (AC) electricity produced by wind farms around Shetland into direct current (DC) before exporting it to the Scottish mainland through a subsea cable.

The Kergord track will be constructed to carry large and heavy loads, including electrical transformers and turbine components.

The consent granted by the planning committee in Lerwick also permits a temporary construction compound to be built for site offices and staff welfare services.

The planning service report states that when the conditions of the planning approval are adhered to there will be “no unacceptable adverse impacts” from the development.

Among the conditions, VE is required to produce a habitat management plan to outline how otters, important bird species and fish in the burns will be safeguarded along with the steps to be taken to manage and improve peatland in the area.

A Viking Energy spokesman said: “We are pleased that the hard work of our team and the council planning service has produced this positive outcome. The Kergord access track will be among the first construction works carried out for the Viking Energy Wind Farm project and may get under way this financial year.”

The 103-turbine wind farm received planning approval in 2012 with 50 conditions attached. As is common with large projects, these included an obligation on VE to bring forward separate detailed planning applications at a later date for different components of the project. These are then subject to public scrutiny and assessment by the council planning service.

Among these further applications are a proposal to realign the Sandwater road and to build temporary construction compounds. Others to follow in the future include details of substations and borrow pits and a finalised habitat management plan.